Motel 6 Agrees To $7.6 Million Settlement Over Claim They Shared “Latino Sounding” Names With Immigration

After a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Motel 6, the chain has agreed to pay as much as $7.6 million to guests who said their private information was given to U.S. immigration agents, according to court records.

Former guests sued the motel chain over privacy violations earlier this year, alleging that the chain handed over their personal information to ICE agents, according to the lawsuit. This lawsuit came after a 2017 Phoenix New Times report that these agents made at least 20 arrests at two Motel 6 locations in Arizona.

Under the new proposed settlement agreement, the hotel has also agreed not to share guests’ personal information without a warrant or subpoena, unless necessary to prevent “a significant crime,” according to the court document.

“It’s very important in our minds that Motel 6 is putting in place policies and procedures that would prevent this from happening again,” Thomas Saenz–president and general counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund MALDEF is who represented the guests in the class-action lawsuit.

Now, Motel 6 and MALDEF have announced in a joint statement that the hotel has prohibited employees from sharing such information about its guests.

“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 said. Despite this, the hotel chain still did not admit to any wrongdoing.

MALDEF filed this lawsuit back in January, on behalf of seven class representatives from Arizona and one from Washington state. It alleged that employees at Motel 6 locations in Arizona gave Hispanic guests’ personal information, such as their Mexican passports and other forms of identification, to agents from the Department of Homeland Security and ICE without warrants being served.

The proposed settlement states that Motel 6 will pay up to $5.6 million (at least $7,500 per guest) to those who were placed in immigration-removal proceedings; up to $1 million (at least $1,000 per guest) to those who were interrogated; and up to $1 million (at least $50 per guest) to those whose personal information was given to federal authorities.

Motel 6 will also cover the cost of the former guests’ legal fees.

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