Author: Daniel S. Weinberger

Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer: SCOTUS to Decide Whether Self-Appointed “Tester” Plaintiffs Have Standing to Sue Under the ADA

During its next term, the United States Supreme Court will review the First Circuit Court of Appeals’s holding in Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer that a self-appointed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “tester” plaintiff has Article III standing to challenge a place of public accommodation’s failure to provide disability accessibility information on its website, even if the plaintiff has no intention of visiting that place of public accommodation. In this first review of an ADA Title III case in almost two decades, the Supreme Court will address an issue that has split the circuit courts across the country. The Supreme Court’s merits decision could have significant ramifications for ADA litigation that has been wildly proliferating in the Second Circuit and elsewhere for the past decade. By way of background, a DOJ-promulgated regulation – 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(e)(1)(ii) – provides that a “public accommodation” operating a “place of lodging” must “with respect to reservations made by any means … [i]dentify and describe accessible features in the hotels and guest rooms offered through its reservations service in enough detail to reasonably permit individuals with disabilities to assess independently whether a given hotel or guest room meets his or her accessibility needs.” In September 2020, Deborah Laufer, a self-proclaimed “tester” plaintiff who has filed more than 600 federal lawsuits under...

New York Court Upholds Separate Entity Rule, Quashes Non-Party Subpoenas Seeking Information on Overseas Bank Accounts

In Ayyash v. Koleilat, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, upheld and arguably extended the New York “separate entity” rule, which provides that each branch of a bank is treated as a separate entity, in no way concerned with accounts maintained by depositors in other branches or at a home office. Under this rule, a New York branch cannot be compelled to turn over assets maintained at another branch of the same bank. The Court’s decision appears to extend this rule to hold that — at least in circumstances where international comity considerations support broad application of the separate entity rule — a New York branch cannot be compelled to provide information or discovery concerning assets maintained at a foreign branch.

Southern District of New York Implements Pilot Program to Govern Pretrial Procedures in Complex Civil Cases

The Judicial Improvements Committee of the Southern District of New York issued a report for a Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases (the “JIC Report”) in October 2011. The pilot project is designed to run for 18 months and apply to certain matters designated as complex civil cases. The “complex civil case” designation applies to class action lawsuits, multi-district litigation actions, stockholder suits, most product liability cases, antitrust suits, patent and trademark suits, securities cases, environmental matters and cases involving the constitutionality of state statutes. Although many Southern District of New York judges already had individual procedures in place similar to those implemented by the JIC, some of the more novel aspects of this pilot project are described below.