ADA Supreme Court Case Update: Acheson v. Laufer

December 2023 Update on ADA Supreme Court Case:
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Acheson v. Laufer case moot. This case was in regards to the standing of ADA Testers. Below you will find a plain language explanation of the case and the decision of the Supreme Court. You can find more information and background on this specific case on our blog: Disability Law Spotlight: Acheson v. Laufer
ADA Supreme Court Case
Latest News: The Supreme Court Reaches A Decision on ADA Case. Updated: December 6, 2023
The Supreme Court of the United States (The Supreme Court) recently heard the case of Acheson v Laufer. 
In this case, Deborah Laufer (known as Laufer), a disabled woman, filed a lawsuit against Acheson Hotels (known as Acheson). In this lawsuit, Laufer said that the hotel website was not accessible under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Acheson argued that Ms. Laufer did not have the right, or standing, to bring them to court because she never intended to visit the hotel. They said she was not injured because of the lack of accessibility on the website and was only ‘testing’ the website for compliance.
In this instance, for Acheson Hotels to be in compliance with the ADA, the hotel would need to include information on their website about the availability of accessible rooms, among other things. 
Many disability activists and allies were worried that the Supreme Court would make a decision that would weaken the ADA. Specifically, activists were concerned that the Supreme Court would find that disabled people would start suing companies for not being accessible, even though they did not intend to visit those companies. Most disability activists and allies know that people with disabilities do not have the time, money, or ability to sue every inaccessible company.
The Supreme Court made a decision on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 that 
this case was moot. 
When a court says a case is ‘moot’ that means that the case no longer requires a decision because a solution has been found for the issue.
ADA Supreme Court Case: In this case, Laufer withdrew the lawsuit that led to this case, and stated that she would not file another like this in the future. The Supreme Court responded with deciding that the case was “moot” because there were no more issues in the case that required a decision from them. 

The Supreme Court of the United States consists of 9 justices. Justices is another word for judges that work for the highest court in the United States. All 9 Justices agreed on the decision in this case.
This decision has both positives and negative impacts for the disability community. 
The positive impact is that The Supreme Court decision did not change the ADA in any way. 
The negative impact is that it still leaves the question of whether we can have “testers” for compliance with the ADA or not. 
Testers are individuals that judge the accessibility of a website or location to make sure it meets ADA regulations. Many disability advocates say they want to have ADA testers because they do not have time to make sure websites and spaces are accessible each time they intend to travel. They would prefer that someone else did that for them. 
This decision also means that lower courts, not the Supreme Court in this case, will decide if people can be testers for the ADA or not. This means that some states and circuits (or regions) may allow testers for the ADA and some will not. For example, Idaho does not allow ADA testers, but Connecticut does.
ADA Supreme Court Case Update

For a complete list of which districts allow ADA testers and which do not, click here.

Want to learn about the National Center for Disability, Equity and Intersectionality? Learn more about our work here.
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Black background with white flashlight shining a narrow light. At the end of the light text reads: Disability Law Spotlight: Acheson v Laufer. The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality

Disability Activists Closely Watch SCOTUS Case

Disability Law Spotlight: SCOTUS is expected to hear Acheson v. Laufer on October 4, 2023. Disability rights activists are watching this case closely, as it it may drastically reduce the ability of marginalized communities (including people with disabilities, people of color, and women) to use such laws to protect their communities from discrimination.

Read more: Disability Activists Closely Watch SCOTUS Case Continue reading