Motel 6 recently settled a class-action lawsuit for $7.6 million after guests claimed that their private information was given to U.S. immigration agents by the motel chain.
According to court records, Motel 6 violated the privacy of its guests by turning over their personal information to ICE officers. Guests filed the lawsuit after the Phoenix New Times released a report that at least 20 people were arrested by ICE at two Motel 6 locations in Arizona.
One stipulation of the settlement agreement was that Motel 6 would no longer share the personal information of guests, unless officers have a warrant or subpoena, or if it is necessary to prevent “a significant crime” from occurring.
Speaking to The Washington Post about the lawsuit, Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said, “It’s very important in our minds that Motel 6 is putting in place policies and procedures that would prevent this from happening again.”
Motel 6 and MALDEF also released the following joint statement, “Motel 6 fully recognizes the seriousness of the situation and accepts full responsibility for both compensating those who were harmed and taking the necessary steps to ensure that we protect the privacy of our guests.”
It is important to note that Motel 6 did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit against Motel 6 was filed in January by MALDEF on behalf of seven class representatives from Arizona and one from Washington. Personal information that was given to ICE by the hotel chain included Mexican passports and other types of identification. According to the lawsuit, guests were interrogated and arrested without warrants being served.
The settlement will be distributed in the following ways:
- $5.6 million will go to guests placed in immigration-removal proceedings
- $1 million will go to guests who were interrogated by ICE
- $1 million will go to guests whose personal information was given to ICE
Motel six will also have to cover the cost of legal fees for guests involved in the lawsuit.
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