Jenner & Block

US Supreme Court Cites Firm Amicus Brief in Case About the Constitutionality Of Warrantless Inspection of Hotel Records

The US Supreme Court agreed with and cited an amicus brief filed by the firm in its recent decision in City of Los Angeles v. Naranjibhai Patel, et al.  The case concerns the constitutionality of a section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code that requires hotel operators to record and keep specific information about their guests on the premises for a ninety-day period and to make those records available to “any officer of the Los Angeles Police Department for inspection” on demand.  In a 5-4 opinion on June 22, 2015, the Court held that the section is facially unconstitutional because it fails to provide the operators with an opportunity for pre-compliance review.  The Court agreed with the firm’s amicus brief, which argued that (1) the inspection of hotel records is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and (2) the exception allowing warrantless inspections in the case of closely regulated industries does not apply to the hotel industry.  “If such general regulations were sufficient to invoke the closely regulated industry exception, it would be hard to imagine a type of business that would not qualify,” the Court’s opinion read, citing the brief.  Filed on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the brief was written by Partners Jessica Ring Amunson, Lindsay C. Harrison and Jessie K. Liu and Associate Amir H. Ali, with the assistance of Senior Paralegal Cheryl L. Olson.