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Naranjibhai Patel and v. City of Los

July 17, 2012

NARANJIBHAI PATEL AND RAMILABEN PATEL,
A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION,
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



D.C. No. 2:05-cv-01571- DSF-AJW Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Dale S. Fischer, District Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clifton, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted

December 6, 2010-Pasadena, California

Before: Harry Pregerson, Richard R. Clifton, and Carlos T. Bea, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Clifton;

Dissent by Judge Pregerson

OPINION

Plaintiffs Naranjibhai Patel and Ramilaben Patel are owners and operators of motels in Los Angeles. They challenge the constitutionality of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) § 41.49, which requires operators of hotels in the City to maintain certain guest registry information and to make that information available to police officers on request. Appellants contend that LAMC § 41.49 is facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because it authorizes unreasonable invasions of their private business records without a warrant or pursuant to any recognized warrant exception. Following a bench trial on stipulated evidence, the district court held that the ordinance was reasonable and granted judgment in favor of the City, concluding that the hotel operators did not establish that they had a privacy interest in the guest registry information.

A facial challenge is "the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exist under which the Act would be valid." United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987); see Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 449 (2008) ("i.e., that the law is unconstitutional in all of its applications"). That the ordinance might operate unconstitutionally under some circumstances is not enough to render it invalid against a facial challenge. The Patels have not satisfied that high standard. As a result, this facial challenge to the ordinance fails. We affirm.

I. Background

The facts of this case are simple and undisputed. The only exhibit introduced at the bench trial was the text of LAMC § 41.49. The parties stipulated that the Patels have been and continue to be subjected to searches and seizures of their motel registration records by the police, pursuant to the ordinance, without consent or a warrant. The parties also stipulated that the only issue at trial was the facial constitutionality of LAMC § 41.49.

The ordinance defines "hotel" broadly to cover hotels, motels, inns, rooming houses, and other establishments offering space for overnight accommodations for rent for a period of less than 30 days. It requires that every operator of a hotel record certain information concerning its guests, including name and address; total number of guests; make, type and license number of the guest's vehicle if parked on hotel premises; date and time of arrival; scheduled date of departure; room number; rate charged and collected; method of payment; and the name of the hotel employee who checked the guest in. The record may be kept in electronic, ink, or typewritten form. LAMC § 41.49(2). The ordinance requires that the record be kept on the hotel premises in the guest reception area or in an adjacent office for at least 90 days after the last entry. It provides specific requirements for the form of the guest register and requires that it must be printable if maintained electronically. LAMC § 41.49(3).

With regard to the authority of the police to require that the registration records be made available, ...


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