DC Federal Court Remands “Junk Fee” Challenge Due to Lack of Article III Standing

Travelers United is a DC-based nonprofit that has sued a number of travel and hospitality providers for putative violations of DC’s consumer protection laws. In one recent case, the organization sued Hilton for their “deceptive Junk Fee practices” that “trick consumers into paying more” to book a hotel room “than they otherwise would.” Travelers United sued in DC Superior Court, invoking a provision of DC law that allows “public interest organizations” to bring suits in a representative capacity without meeting Article III standing requirements.

Hilton removed the case to federal district court under the Class Action Fairness Act. Yesterday, the court granted Travelers United’s motion to remand. In so doing, the Court agreed with the parties that the CAFA requirements were met, but that the separate requirements of Article III standing were not. The organization lacked either associational standing based on its members’ standing (finding the organization is not a membership association and that the involvement of individual members would be necessary anyway to calculate damages) or organizational standing based on a Havens theory.

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