ADA Serial Litigator Reaches 209th Test in Hudson Valley Hotels Business
Saim Sarwar, a disabled man from Brooklyn, has accused five hotels in the Hudson Valley of disability discrimination, in the latest lawsuits in a 14-month litigation campaign in which he sued 290 hotels across the country. country.
Sarwar claims that local hotels violate the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Act because their online reservation systems do not properly describe accommodations for people with disabilities.
Reservation systems are the gateways to hotels, he says in complaints filed Nov. 2 in U.S. District Court in White Plains, but insufficient information makes it difficult to book a room or make an informed decision regarding accessibility.
Sarwar is unable to do more than a few measurements on his own, according to the complaint. He uses a wheelchair outside the house. He is unable to firmly grasp, pinch or twist his wrist to operate devices.
Accessible parking spaces must be wide enough for him to use a ramp to get in and out of his vehicle. Aisles should be level, wide, and free from holes and hazards that could tip the wheelchair or jam its wheels. The doors should be wide. Doorknobs and sinks should be low enough for him to reach. Dressers and showers should be equipped with grab bars.
Federal and state regulations require hotels to identify access features for people with disabilities, based on complaints, and ensure that reservations can be made the same way people without disabilities make reservations.
Sarwar says he stayed in hotels when he traveled to the east coast from late August to early September, but he does not explicitly state that he stayed at any of the five hotels named in the lawsuits. It also does not describe inadequate hotel facilities.
Rather, it says that online reservation systems – Booking.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Priceline.com, Orbitz.com and Agoda.com – do not identify or authorize the reservation of accessible rooms or provide insufficient information on accessibility.
The alleged violations, he says, are frustrating and humiliating, isolating him and depriving him of the enjoyment of services offered to the general public.
Sarwar intends to make the same trip next year, according to the complaint. But until the reservation systems comply with disability regulations, “it would be a futile move” to reuse them “unless he is prepared to face further discrimination.”
Sarwar asks court to declare hotels violated disability laws, order them to overhaul their online booking systems or provide necessary information to third-party booking sites and award $ 1,000 in damages and interest at each hotel.
The hotels mentioned in the complaints are Americas Best Value Inn, Central Valley, Orange County; Budget Motor Inn, Stony Point, Rockland County; Econo Lodge, New Windsor, Orange County; Inn on the Hudson, Peekskill, Westchester County; and Countryside Motel, Cold Spring, Putnam County.
From September 4, 2020 to November 2, 2021, Sarwar accused 290 hotels of discrimination in Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas , Vermont and Wisconsin.
He is represented by Georgian lawyer Tristan W. Gillespie. As of May 2019, Gillespie has filed 378 cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to federal court records, on behalf of five people.