Motel 6 to Pay $12M to Washington State in ICE Settlement

(CN) – Motel 6 will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit with Washington state over claims that the motel chain regularly gave its guest lists to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

A 2018 investigation by the state attorney general’s office found that seven Motel 6 locations within the state shared more than 80,000 guests’ personal information with ICE agents over a period of two years, including names, date of births and other information.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the company last year, saying the chain violated the Consumer Protection Act by voluntarily sharing guest information without knowledge or consent.

“It was a methodical approach to turn over guests’ names, even without a warrant, essentially no questions asked,” Ferguson said Thursday at a news conference announcing the settlement.

Part of the $12 million settlement will be paid to cover the costs of the attorney general’s investigation, with the rest disbursed to the 80,000 affected guests. The chain will not be required to admit to any wrongdoing, though it did agree to sign a legally binding document saying it would cease practice of sharing guest information with ICE nationwide.

“This resolution holds Motel 6 responsible for its conduct,” Ferguson said. “It guarantees restitution for anyone who was harmed by this conduct and sends a message to anyone else who would unlawfully share private information with ICE or anyone else.”

ICE agents would visit seven Motel 6 locations within the state to check the immigration status of of any guests with Hispanic names, according to Ferguson. A total of 9 people were detained during such operations from February 2015 to September 2017.

Ferguson said that three company executives have left Motel 6 since the lawsuit was filed, including the CEO, chief operating officer and president and vice president of safety and security.

“Today’s resolution ensures that more Motel 6 guests won’t have to suffer as these families are suffering,” Ferguson said.

Last November, the company agreed to settle a federal class action filed by motel guests for $8.9 million over its practice of sharing guest information with ICE.   

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