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In Laufer v. Naranda Hotels, LLC, 60 F. 4th 156 (4th Cir. 2023), the Fourth Circuit Holds That Article III Standing in an ADA Action Does Not Require Actual Intention

June 21, 2023 By Steven J. Parrott

In Laufer v. Naranda Hotels, LLC, 60 F. 4th 156 (4th Cir. 2023), the Fourth Circuit joins the First and Eleventh Circuits, and goes against the Second, Fifth, and Tenth Circuits in holding that Article III standing in an ADA action under 48 U.S.C. Section 12182(a) does not require actual intention to book a room or utilize defendant hotel’s facility.

Deborah Laufer, a self- appointed “tester” residing in Pasco County, Florida with more than 557 pending Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) claims in 16 states plus the District of Columbia, brought an action for injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees pursuant to 48 U.S.C., sections 12182 (a) and 12188(a) against Naranda Hotels LLC, the owner of the Sleep Inn & Suites in downtown Baltimore. Her Complaint alleged violations of 28 CFR, section 36.302(e) by the Hotel for failing to provide sufficient ADA accessibility and accessible room reservation information on third-party reservation websites such as,,, and others. Laufer did not allege that the accessibility and reservation information was not available on the Sleep Inn & Suites operated reservation website. The Complaint did not specify how the information on the third-party reservation websites was insufficient, but alleged that Laufer suffered both informational and stigmatic injuries. The Complaint did not allege that Laufer intended to book a room at the Sleep Inn & Suites or travel to the Baltimore area.

Naranda Hotels, LLC filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on grounds that Laufer had failed to demonstrate standing under Article III of the U. S. Constitution by failing to demonstrate the following: 1) an injury in fact, which was concrete, actual or imminent, and not hypothetical; 2) a causal connection between the alleged injury and conduct complained of; and 3) the likelihood that the injury would be addressed by a favorable decision. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560-561, 112 S. Ct. 2130 (1992). Following an evidentiary hearing, the U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland, relying primarily on Griffin v. Department of Labor Federal Credit Union, 912 F. 2d 649 (4th Cir. 2019), granted Naranda Hotels, LLC’s Motion to Dismiss on grounds that Laufer did not have Article III standing because there was no “case” or “controversy” where she had not demonstrated an intention to actually book a room at the hotel or travel to the Baltimore area at some concrete time in the  future. Laufer v. Naranda Hotels, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-02136, 2020 U. S. Dist. LEXIS 235894, * 6-16 (D. Md. Dec. 16, 2020). 

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Laufer’s Complaint, holding that Laufer had alleged an informational injury sufficient to establish standing, “whether or not she ever had a definite or credible plan to travel to the Baltimore area.”  Laufer v. Naranda Hotels, LLC, 60 F. 4th 156, 162 (4th Cir. 2023). Relying upon the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in  Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U. S. 363, 102 S. Ct. 114 (1982), Public Citizen v. United States Department of Justice, 491 U. S. 440, 109 S. Ct. 2558 (1989), and Federal Election Commission v. Akins, 524 U. S. 11, 118 S. Ct. 1777 (1998), the Fourth Circuit in Laufer held that the informational injury occurred when Laufer went onto the third-party reservation sites and allegedly was unable to locate sufficient accessibility information, and that whether she intended to book a room at the hotel or travel to the Baltimore area was not relevant to the standing issue. Laufer, 60 F. 4th at 163-167. Citing to Nanni v. Aberdeen Marketplace, Inc., 878 F. 3d 447, 455 (4th Cir. 2017), the Court stated that Laufer met the requirement for injunctive relief of demonstrating a real and imminent threat that the injury will occur again by plausibly alleging that she intended to return to the site of the original injury – the third-party reservation sites. Laufer, 60 F. 4th at 167-168. The Court held that its decision in Griffith v. Department of Labor Federal Credit Union was not applicable because in that case, the tester was not eligible for membership in the credit union. Laufer, 60 F. 4th at 172-173.

With its decision, the Fourth Circuit joined the First and Eleventh Circuits in holding that Article III standing to assert an ADA claim for injunctive relief based upon an informational injury does not require that a plaintiff establish that he or she intends to book a room at the defendant’s hotel or travel to the area where the hotel is located. See Laufer v. Acheson Hotels, LLC, 50 F. 4th 259 (1st Cir. 2022); Laufer v. Arpen, 29 F. 4th 1268 (11th Cir.) (concurring opinion). The Fourth Circuit Opinion is contrary to the decisions from the Second, Fifth, and Tenth Circuits.  See Harty v. W. Point Realty, Inc., 28 F. 4th 435 (2nd Cir. 2022), Laufer v. Mann Hospital, LLC., 996 F. 3d 269 (5th Cir. 2021), and Laufer v. Looper, 22 F. 4th 871 (10th Cir. 2022). 

Clarification on the informational injury standing issue from the U.S. Supreme Court is on the way. The U.S. Supreme Court granted Defendant Acheson Hotel’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to review the First Circuit’s decision. See Laufer v. Acheson Hotels, LLC, __ U. S.___, 143 S. Ct. 1053, 215 L. Ed. 2d 278 (March 27, 2023). The Fourth Circuit issued an order staying the issuance of the mandate in Laufer v. Naranda Hotels, LLC pending the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in Laufer v. Acheson.