Circuit Court Dismisses Marriott Case Finding Hotel Met ADA Requirements for Describing Accessibility Features
By PVA Staff
In Love v. Marriott Hotel Services, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a case against Marriott. The plaintiff alleged that the hotel failed to provide sufficient accessibility details on its website. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of lodging, such as hotels, motels, and inns, to identify and describe accessibility features in enough detail for an individual to decide if the facility will meet their needs.
The plaintiff, Samuel Love, has paraplegia and uses a wheelchair for mobility. He alleged that when he tried to book a room at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, the website lacked sufficient information about the hotel’s accessibility features. The website did list accessible features in some guestrooms, including the type of room, size and number of beds, type of accessible bathing facility, accessible communication features, and more.
In addition, the website had a phone number for prospective guests to call. Love argued that the information was insufficient for him to determine whether the hotel would meet his accessibility needs. He argued that more detailed descriptions would be appropriate. The Northern District of California District Court dismissed the case finding that the hotel listed details beyond what the ADA required. Love appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit.
The Ninth Circuit looked to the Department of Justice’s guidance for interpretation of the ADA’s requirements. The guidance states that older hotels can simply say, “features do not comply with the 1991 Standards.” Newer hotels only need to specify that the hotel is accessible, and describe the type of room (e.g., deluxe suite), size and number of beds (e.g., two queen beds), type of accessible bathing facility (e.g., roll-in shower), and the accessible communication features.
The hotel should also train staff to answer questions about accessibility features and provide more detailed information. Finding that the hotel met these requirements, the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the case.