People: Minh N. Vu, Partner

Photo of Minh N. Vu, Partner

Minh N. Vu

Partner

Washington, D.C.
Direct: (202) 828-5337
Fax: (202) 641-9279
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Ms. Vu is a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office and the leader of the Firm’s ADA Title III Specialty Practice Team.  Ms. Vu’s practice focuses exclusively on the legal obligations of places of public accommodation, recipients of federal funding, and housing providers to individuals with disabilities under Title III of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and various state non-discrimination statutes.    In 2012, Ms. Vu authored the “ADA Guide for Lodging Owners and Operators,” the first  book of its kind published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and also testified before Congress on behalf of the AH&LA on new ADA requirements for pool lifts at pools and spas.  Ms. Vu also is the editor of and a primary contributor to the ADA Title III News & Insights launched by Seyfarth Shaw in 2012.

After many years of litigating cases at all levels of the federal judicial system and before state and federal agencies, Ms. Vu joined the U.S. Department of Justice where she served as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  In that position, Ms. Vu oversaw the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Rehabilitation Act, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  She also represented the Department of Justice on the U.S. Access Board, the federal agency charged with creating accessibility guidelines for public accommodations and commercial facilities.

Litigation Defense.  Since returning to the private sector in 2004, Ms. Vu has handled a variety of complex disability discrimination matters involving public accommodations throughout the United States.  Ms. Vu has successfully defended public accommodations (e.g. hotels, retailers, restaurants, banks, casinos, and health care facilities) in a broad range of accessibility lawsuits under Title III of the ADA and similar state laws involving architectural as well as operational barriers to access.  In one nationwide ADA accessibility lawsuit against a national hotel company, Ms. Vu successfully narrowed the scope of the lawsuit from more than 2800 hotels to four on a motion to dismiss.  Ms. Vu also successfully obtained the complete dismissal of thirteen consolidated ADA lawsuits against a national retailer before any discovery took place.

Government Compliance Investigations.  Ms. Vu specializes in the representation of companies under investigation by the Department of Justice and state enforcement agencies for alleged violations of Title III of the ADA and FHA. She has successfully negotiated a number of settlements and consent decrees with the Department and private plaintiffs on behalf of hotels, restaurants, retailers, and financial services companies concerning virtually every conceivable subject matter, including architectural barriers, effective communication (e.g. sign language interpreters, documents in alternate formats, websites, and mobile apps), ATMs, and service animals. 

Advice, Counseling, Policy Development, and Training.  Ms. Vu’s practice includes advising clients on the requirements of the ADA and other disability laws and creating compliance policies and training programs.  The country's top retailers, banks, hospitality companies, car rental companies, casinos, and equipment manufacturers have retained Ms. Vu to help them create national enterprise-wide ADA compliance policies, operational procedures, and customized training materials for thousands of employees.  She guides clients on cutting edge disability issues such as the applicability of Title III of the ADA to websites and mobile applications, the new 2010 ADA Standards for accessible facilities, pool and spa lifts, point of sale devices, medical equipment, self-service equipment, hotel reservations processes, and ATMs.  Ms. Vu also advises real estate developers, builders and architects on the accessible design and construction requirements of the FHA for multifamily dwellings, and defends lawsuits and government investigations based on such requirements.

Federal Rulemaking Proceedings.   Since 2006, Ms. Vu has served as ADA counsel to the nation's top lodging trade association.  She has represented the interests of the lodging industry in every major rulemaking under Title III of the ADA, including the 2010 revisions to the ADA Title III regulations as well as the pending rulemakings for furniture, equipment, and websites. 

Ms. Vu is a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office and the leader of the Firm’s ADA Title III Specialty Practice Team.  Ms. Vu’s practice focuses exclusively on the legal obligations of places of public accommodation, recipients of federal funding, and housing providers to individuals with disabilities under Title III of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and various state non-discrimination statutes.    In 2012, Ms. Vu authored the “ADA Guide for Lodging Owners and Operators,” the first  book of its kind published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and also testified before Congress on behalf of the AH&LA on new ADA requirements for pool lifts at pools and spas.  Ms. Vu also is the editor of and a primary contributor to the ADA Title III News & Insights launched by Seyfarth Shaw in 2012.

After many years of litigating cases at all levels of the federal judicial system and before state and federal agencies, Ms. Vu joined the U.S. Department of Justice where she served as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  In that position, Ms. Vu oversaw the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Rehabilitation Act, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  She also represented the Department of Justice on the U.S. Access Board, the federal agency charged with creating accessibility guidelines for public accommodations and commercial facilities.

Litigation Defense.  Since returning to the private sector in 2004, Ms. Vu has handled a variety of complex disability discrimination matters involving public accommodations throughout the United States.  Ms. Vu has successfully defended public accommodations (e.g. hotels, retailers, restaurants, banks, casinos, and health care facilities) in a broad range of accessibility lawsuits under Title III of the ADA and similar state laws involving architectural as well as operational barriers to access.  In one nationwide ADA accessibility lawsuit against a national hotel company, Ms. Vu successfully narrowed the scope of the lawsuit from more than 2800 hotels to four on a motion to dismiss.  Ms. Vu also successfully obtained the complete dismissal of thirteen consolidated ADA lawsuits against a national retailer before any discovery took place.

Government Compliance Investigations.  Ms. Vu specializes in the representation of companies under investigation by the Department of Justice and state enforcement agencies for alleged violations of Title III of the ADA and FHA. She has successfully negotiated a number of settlements and consent decrees with the Department and private plaintiffs on behalf of hotels, restaurants, retailers, and financial services companies concerning virtually every conceivable subject matter, including architectural barriers, effective communication (e.g. sign language interpreters, documents in alternate formats, websites, and mobile apps), ATMs, and service animals. 

Advice, Counseling, Policy Development, and Training.  Ms. Vu’s practice includes advising clients on the requirements of the ADA and other disability laws and creating compliance policies and training programs.  The country's top retailers, banks, hospitality companies, car rental companies, casinos, and equipment manufacturers have retained Ms. Vu to help them create national enterprise-wide ADA compliance policies, operational procedures, and customized training materials for thousands of employees.  She guides clients on cutting edge disability issues such as the applicability of Title III of the ADA to websites and mobile applications, the new 2010 ADA Standards for accessible facilities, pool and spa lifts, point of sale devices, medical equipment, self-service equipment, hotel reservations processes, and ATMs.  Ms. Vu also advises real estate developers, builders and architects on the accessible design and construction requirements of the FHA for multifamily dwellings, and defends lawsuits and government investigations based on such requirements.

Federal Rulemaking Proceedings.   Since 2006, Ms. Vu has served as ADA counsel to the nation's top lodging trade association.  She has represented the interests of the lodging industry in every major rulemaking under Title III of the ADA, including the 2010 revisions to the ADA Title III regulations as well as the pending rulemakings for furniture, equipment, and websites. 

Education

  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School (1993)
    with honors
  • B.A., Columbia College (1989)

Admissions

  • District Of Columbia
  • Virginia

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

Representative Engagements

U.S. Department of Justice Enforcement Investigations

  • U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) Compliance Review of Six Hotels in the Boston area (2012) - Ms. Vu successfully represented seven hotels in a compliance review initiated by this office.  Following this review, the USAO took no action against five of the hotels and resolved issues with two hotels.
  • Settlement Agreement between the Marriott Marquis San Diego and the United States (July 2011) - On behalf of the owner and operator of this hotel, Ms. Vu successfully resolved an investigation into alleged physical barriers to access at this facility as well as various operational issues such as hotel reservations.
  • Settlement Agreement between Wells Fargo Bank and the United States (May 2011) - On behalf of Wells Fargo, Ms. Vu negotiated a complex nationwide settlement with the United States involving issues concerning effective communication and physical access issues. 
  • United States v. Hilton Worldwide Inc., CA No. 1:10-cv-01924  (November 2010) (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) - On behalf of Hilton Worldwide, Ms. Vu successfully negotiated a nationwide consent decree with the United States to resolve an investigation concerning all aspects of Hilton’s compliance with the Title III of the ADA.

Public Accommodations Discrimination - Private suits and Settlements

  • Skaff v. SHC Half Moon Bay, LLC et al. (C.A. No. C 10-01115 CRB) (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California) (2012) - Ms. Vu represented the operator of this Ritz-Carlton hotel in the successful resolution of a complex multi-party lawsuit involving alleged violations of Title III of the ADA and various California statutes, including the Unruh Act and the Disabled Persons Act.
  • Kit Lau and Charles Schwab & Co. (March 2012) - Ms. Vu represented brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Co. in structured negotiations relating to the accessibility of its clients website.
  • Houston v. The TJX Companies, Inc. (C.A. No. 11-CV-80109-RYSKAMP/VITUNAC) (U.S. District Court for the S.D. Florida) (July 2011) - Prior to any discovery taking place, Ms. Vu obtained the dismissal of this consolidated ADA Title III lawsuit involving 14 T.J. Maxx stores in Southern Florida brought by a well-known professional plaintiff. 
  • Equal Rights Center et al. v. Hilton Hotels Corporation, CA No. 1:07-cv-01528-JR (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) - Two organizational and three individual plaintiffs brought a lawsuit under Title III of the ADA and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act seeking nationwide injunctive relief at more than 2,700 hotels and monetary damages for alleged accessibility barriers and policies.  Ms. Vu was lead counsel for Hilton in this matter.  The court granted Hilton’s motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs only had standing to sue for alleged inaccessible conditions at four hotels and had no standing to challenge the reservations policy. 
  • Frankeberger et al. v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, CA No. C09-1827 JPD (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington) - Two individual plaintiffs with multiple disabilities brought a lawsuit under Title III of the ADA and Washington state law alleging that the hotel had discriminated against them by subjecting them to an excessive wait for assistance at a wheelchair lift.  Starwood, represented by Seyfarth, obtained a prompt dismissal of the case prior the commencement of discovery. 
  • Access 4 All, Inc. and Ronald Moore v. AEW Bedford, CA No. 1:09-cv-11045-MLW (U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts) - An organizational plaintiff and an individual plaintiff brought an action under Title III of the ADA claiming that a hotel was not accessible to individuals with disabilities.  On behalf of the hotel owner, Seyfarth promptly settled the case after an inspection of the hotel.  This case is typical of the many cases that Seyfarth has expeditiously resolved without litigation.
  • Theodore v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Boston, CA No. 1:09-cv-1176-RGS (U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts) - The plaintiff brought an action under Title III of the ADA alleging that the car rental company had failed to provide him with vehicles with hand controls and that the rental locations were not accessible to people with disabilities.  The plaintiff sought injunctive relief for all rental locations in Massachusetts.  On behalf of Enterprise, Seyfarth resolved the matter promptly within two months after the complaint was filed without having to file a responsive pleading.  

Fair Housing Discrimination 

  • United States v. Summerland Heights GP, LLC., CA No. 1:09cv860-JCC/IDD (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia) - The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that this garden apartment community did not comply with the design & construction standards of the Fair Housing Act.  The case was resolved by a consent decree for minimal damages.
  • Duran v. Meadowcreek/Lynnbrook Residential L.L.C., HUD File No. 03-09-0555-8 (Housing and Urban Development)/VA Fair Housing Board File No. 2010-00984) - Tenants alleged that the rental community failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for their disabilities in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Virginia Fair Housing Law.  Seyfarth resolved this matter promptly resolved through the conciliation process.

Employment Discrimination

  • Mason v. DaVita Inc., CA No. 1:06CV01319 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) - The employee alleged that he was denied a new sales position because of his race in violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act.  The court granted summary judgment to the employer.
  • Pope v. American College of Physicians, CA No. 1:07cv01023-RCL (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) - The employee alleged that the employer had disclosed his confidential medical records and had terminated his employment because he had requested a reasonable accommodation in violation of the ADA. The court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss.

Presentations

  • “Do My Websites and Mobile Apps Have to Be Accessible to People with Disabilities?,” Seyfarth Shaw LLP Webinar (April 2, 2014)
  • “Do I Have To Let People With Disabilities Ride Their Segways In My Place Of Business?,” Seyfarth Shaw LLP Webinar (March 20, 2014)
  • “From the Front Lines:  ADA Update on the Latest Issues and Trends for Shopping Centers,” presented live at the 2013 ICSC International Shopping Center Law Conference (October 19, 2013)
  • “Your Website and The Americans With Disabilities Act: Are You In Compliance?” presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP via webcast (February 6, 2013)
  • “5 Trends Shaping ADA Compliance For Bank Web Sites,” presented by Deque Systems via webcast (November 30, 2012)
  • “Law and Order: Special Hospitality Unit,” presented at 2012 International Society of Hotel Association Executives Winter Conference (December 6, 2012)
  • “5 Trends Shaping ADA Compliance For Bank Web Sites,” presented by Deque Systems via webcast (December 4, 2012)
  • “What The Hospitality Industry Should Expect In The Next Four Years,” presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP via webcast (November 15, 2012)
  • “ADA in Your Hotel and Your Workforce,” presented live at International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show (November 11, 2012)
  • “Recent Developments under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” presented live at the 2012 Georgetown U. Law Center Hotel & Lodging Legal Summit (November 9, 2012)
  • “ADA Title III and Fair Housing Act Developments,” presented to: Chartis Greater NY Region Real Estate and Hospitality Brokers and Clients (September 2012)
  • “The New ADA Title III Requirements and Their Impact on Your Hotels,” Presented to Wyndham Hotel Group Franchisees (April 4, 2012)
  • "ADA Changes for Pools, Recreational Facilities & Service Animals," Presented by American Hotel & Lodging Association and Seyfarth Shaw LLP via live web cast (November 2011)
  •  “New ADA Title III Regulations: Will Your Lodging Facility Be in Compliance on March 15, 2012?” Presented by American Hotel & Lodging Association and Seyfarth Shaw LLP via live web cast (July 27, 2011)
  • “The New ADA Requirement And Their Impact On How You Operate Your Property,” Presented to Choice Hotels International Franchisees (May 19-20, 2011)
  • “An Overview and Update on ADA Title III Requirements for Hospitals,” Presented to Massachusetts Hospital Association (May 10, 2011)
  • “Public Accommodations and Their Customers with Disabilities: What Every Business Needs to Know About the New ADA Title III Regulations,”  Client Briefing Sponsored by Seyfarth Shaw (April 27, 2011)
  • "New ADA Public Accommodations Standards:  The 2010 ADA Title III Regulations," Presented to the Chartis Real Estate Advisory Board (February 2011)
  •  "The New Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III Regulations:  What do they mean for your bank?" Presented to American Banker's Association Members via Telephone Briefing/Webcast (December 2010)
  • “New ADA Accessibility Requirements:  Get Up to Speed,” Presented by InterContinental Hotel Group and Seyfarth Shaw LLP to IHG Franchisees (October 26-27, 2010)
  • “Understanding the New ADA Title III Regulations,” sponsored by Lexington Insurance/Chartis for Insureds via webcast (October 14, 2010)
  • “A Hotelier’s Guide to the New ADA Title III Regulations,” presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP and the American Hotel & Lodging Association via live webcast (October 2010)
  • “Understanding the New ADA Title III Regulations,” presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (October 2010)
  • “Understanding the New ADA Title III Regulations:  The Retailer’s Perspective,” presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP and the Retail Industry Leaders Association via live webcast (September 2010)
  • “Persuade Your Audience: Tips on Perfecting Your Legal Writing,” Virginia CLE sponsored by The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington D.C. Area (March 2010)
  • “Providing Equal Access for Customers Under the ADA: Hot Issues Every Business Needs to Know About Now,” Client Briefing sponsored by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 2010)

Publications