Motel 6 paying $12 million to settle lawsuit for sharing data on 80,000 guests with ICE

Lodging chain Motel 6 agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit that alleges the company shared information on 80,000 guests with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) announced the settlement Thursday after he says Motel 6 continued the practice for two years, according to USA Today.

The lawsuit stated several Motel 6 locations in Washington gave information on guests to ICE officials without the agency having a warrant.

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"Many Motel 6 locations in Washington turned over the personal information of their guests to ICE on a daily basis without requiring a warrant," Ferguson’s office said in a press release announcing the settlement. "From 2015 to 2017, seven Washington locations shared the personal information of approximately 80,000 guests."

More than $10 million out of the settlement will go toward paying affected guests.

As part of the settlement, Motel 6 agreed to stop the practice of handing over guests' information at all locations in the country, unless it is required by law, subpoena or warrant.

Guests' information, including names, driver’s license numbers along with passport and green card ID numbers, were given by the company to immigration officials regularly, the release said.

Immigration officials used the information to target individuals with Latino-sounding names, the release said.

The release says an investigation by Ferguson’s office found the company’s sharing of information with immigration officials led to the detainment of at least nine people.

"The safety and security of our guests, which includes protecting guest information, is our top priority, and we are pleased to be able to reach resolution in this matter," the company said in a statement to USA Today.

"As part of the agreement, Motel 6 will continue to enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present, or local law requires this information," a spokesperson for Motel 6 told The Hill. "The company has also implemented a system of additional controls to ensure corporate oversight and compliance in cases where law enforcement requests are made."

Motel 6 settled a lawsuit in Arizona last year for similar practices, agreeing to pay up to $7.6 million to affected guests.