July 11, 2018 / 12:10 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Motel 6 settles lawsuit over guest data given to U.S. immigration agents

(Adds statements from Motel 6, Washington state attorney general)

By Jonathan Stempel

July 10 (Reuters) - Motel 6 has agreed to settle a proposed nationwide class-action lawsuit alleging it violated the privacy of Hispanic guests by providing guest lists to U.S. immigration authorities to aid in law enforcement.

The settlement with eight Hispanic plaintiffs, including seven from Arizona and one from Washington state, was disclosed in a filing last Friday with the federal court in Phoenix.

Motel 6 and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which represents the plaintiffs, said the accord required court approval and would include a consent decree, with further documentation expected by Aug. 15.

Thomas Saenz, a lawyer for MALDEF, said on Tuesday that settlement details should be made public in the next few weeks.

“We are working cooperatively and constructively with MALDEF toward finalizing a settlement,” Motel 6 said in a statement.

The chain is controlled by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, which bought the brand in 2012.

MALDEF sued Motel 6 in January, saying its release of guest lists was racially discriminatory and unconstitutional, and allowed law enforcement to make arrests without warrants or reasonable suspicion that crimes had been committed.

The lawsuit was filed four months after the Phoenix New Times said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials had arrested 20 people in six months at Motel 6s in Arizona, using guest lists to identify people by national origin.

Motel 6 was also sued in January by Washington state's attorney general, Bob Ferguson, who said six locations in that state provided data for more than 9,100 guests to ICE agents over a two-year period.

"Our case continues to move forward. I still intend to hold Motel 6 accountable and uncover the whole story of their disturbing conduct," Ferguson said in an emailed statement.

Motel 6's management company, G6 Hospitality, has said it ordered its more than 1,400 U.S. and Canadian locations in September to stop voluntarily giving guest lists to ICE agents.

The case is Jane V. et al v Motel 6 Operating LP et al, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, No. 18-00242. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)

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