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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 08, 2018 1:00 am

Motel 6 pays for giving info to ICE

Class-action lawsuit leads to payment of at least $7.6 million

Lindsey Bever | Washington Post

After a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Motel 6, the chain 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 Motel 6 over privacy violations this year, alleging the chain handed over their personal information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit came following a 2017 Phoenix New Times report that ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at two Motel 6 locations in Arizona.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, the hotel also agreed not to share guests' personal information without a warrant or subpoena, unless necessary to prevent “a significant crime,” according to the 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, said in an interview with the Washington Post. MALDEF represented the guests in the class-action lawsuit.

Motel 6 and MALDEF said in a joint statement that the hotel has prohibited employees from sharing such information.

“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. The hotel chain did not, however, admit to any wrongdoing.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.