·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Motel 6 Settles Suit with State of Washington for $12M

— April 5, 2019

Earlier this week, Motel 6 agreed to pay the state of Washington $12 million to settle a suit alleging it violated privacy laws.

Motel 6, a national motel chain, announced on Thursday that it was going to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington. The suit was filed over allegations that “names of hotel guests were improperly provided to immigration officials for two years.” As a result, the leaked information allegedly “led to targeted investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who went after people with Latino-sounding names,” according to Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Additionally, these targeted investigations resulted in “some people staying at seven Motel 6 locations in the state being detained or deported.”

Washington State Capitol
Washington State Capitol; image courtesy of Cacophony via Wikimedia Commons,

The suit was filed last year in King County Superior Court and argues the “company’s disclosures violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and a law against discrimination.” In a statement regarding the matter, Ferguson said:

“Motel 6’s actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians. Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”

As part of the settlement announcement, representatives for Motel 6 said it plans to “enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present or local law requires release of the information.” Additionally, the company said it has already “implemented controls to ensure corporate oversight and compliance in cases where law enforcement requests are made” and plans to “provide training to employees to protect guest privacy.” In a statement, the company added, “The safety and security of our guests, which includes protecting guest information, is our top priority, and we are pleased to be able to reach a resolution in this matter.”

This isn’t the first time Motel 6 has come under fire over allegations of privacy violations. Back in November, the company was hit with a lawsuit by the state of Arizona. To settle the suit, the motel chain ended up having to shell out “$7.6 million to Latino guests who said hotel employees shared private information with immigration officials.”

In the recent Washington state case, Ferguson said the privacy violations were so great that Motel 6 was giving ICE officials information “on a daily basis about a total of 80,000 guests without a warrant between 2015 and 2017.” In one particular case, a Seattle native staying at a “Motel 6 near SeaTac was stopped in a parking lot by ICE agents as he wrapped Christmas presents for his four children.” Several days later, he was deported. Prior to being deported, the man was his family’s sole provider. Since his deportation, “his wife has struggled to support the children.”


Motel 6 agrees to pay $12 million to settle lawsuit

Motel 6 To Pay $12 Million After Improperly Giving Guest Lists To ICE

Join the conversation!