For the most part, Airbnb users are probably under the impression that “you can’t sue Airbnb”, because through its Terms of Service it requires users to use arbitration. This may be true, but that doesn’t mean a lawsuit can’t be filed — it may mean that at some point, the judge compels arbitration, as we can see in the McCluskey case below. Also, some lawsuits are not about money damages, they are filed to seek an injunction, such as the two New York State lawsuits below, where New York hosts sued Airbnb in an injunction to stop it from disclosing private information to the New York City government.
Here are some lawsuits that were filed against Airbnb, as found on the San Francisco Superior Court website, as well as the New York City court website. You can look up these cases yourself by going to the San Francisco Superior Court site at http://sfsuperiorcourt.org/ and then click on “Online Services” on top menu bar, and then “Case Query” and search under case names, use Airbnb to search. For New York State, go here https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/nyscef/CaseSearch then enter the “Captcha” code. On the next page, click the “name” tag, and select the “business/organization” option. Enter “Airbnb” and you’ll find a list of cases where you can click on the case number to see all the documents and case history.
You could also search court records in a variety of cities around the nation and see if Airbnb has been sued in other places. I randomly picked Washington DC, and found these cases against AIrbnb in that city:
In a few cases the complaints filed may have been nuisance filings, as the court register of actions indicates that the plaintiff never showed up in court. So I wont’ include those here.
San Francisco Court Cases
Lawsuit filed by Leslie Lapayowker for damages over $25,000, alleging sexual assault by an Airbnb host:
Lawsuit against Airbnb By Leslie Lapayowker
Lawsuit filed by Kissling Street Trust for damages over $25,000:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Kissling Trust
Lawsuit filed by David Ferris for $7370:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by David Ferris
Lawsuit filed by Megan Holub for $620 (she won) :
Lawsuit filed by Andrea Camille Calvin for $3068:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Andrea Camille Calvin
Lawsuit filed by Felix Ntam for $6500, over Airbnb failing to honor their host guarantee:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Felix Ntam
Note in this case that a later document filed by Felix Ntam shows that he was able to reach a settlement agreement with Airbnb:
Felix Ntam reaches settlement with Airbnb
Lawsuit filed by Kenneth King over a “nuisance host” for $1500
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Kenneth King
Lawsuit filed by Jim Chen for $127 after “being kicked out by the host” and receiving only $103 refunded from Airbnb of $230 total paid for the reservation.
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Jim Chen
Lawsuit filed by Joaquin De La Torre for $2500
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Joaquin De La Torre
Lawsuit filed by La Jeana Thompson for wrongful termination, for damages over $25k and demand for a jury trial. She was a food service worker at Airbnb in San Francisco, employed there by a subcontracting company.
Lawsuit against Airbnb by La Jeana Thompson
Lawsuit filed by Roger SEnders for over $25,000 in damages, alleging injury caused by their negligence:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Roger Senders
Lawsuit filed by Cozumel Yachts for over $25,000 in damages, alleging property taken under false pretenses:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Cozumel Yachts
Class Action lawsuit filed by Diane Schober et al over conversion of a residential hotel to use for short term rentals — AIrbnb is just one of the Defendants in this case which took 3 years to resolve:
Lawsuit against Airbnb by Diane Schober et al
A lawsuit filed by a host who experienced damages by a guest which were not reimbursed by Airbnb.
Lawsuit Against Airbnb by Jane Van Tamelen
When a case is signed off by plaintiff as dismissed soon after the complaint is filed, as in this case, that strongly suggests that a settlement was reached, as here:
Lawsuit Against Airbnb by Jane Van Tamelen pt2
A rather large case, a class action lawsuit, was filed against Airbnb in 2014, by Louis Gamache et al. This case pertains to the conversation of residential units into short term rentals. The last document filing on the case was in 2017, but the case is not over yet.
Class Action suit Against Airbnb by Louis Gamache et al
This is a case filed against Airbnb in January 2018,….the plaintiff McCluskey, herself an Airbnb Superhost, was hired to work as a co-host for 2 Los Angeles hosts, William and Roxanne Hendricks. She alleges that as part of her co-host duties, she was asked to open their mail. In one package she opened, she states she found Oxycontin, Morphine and “Molly”, a controlled substance that cannot be obtained with a prescription. She states she then contacted Airbnb and told them she was quitting her co-hosting work for these people. But she says Airbnb told her she had to give more notice, could not quit immediately. McCluskey feared losing her Superhost status if she did not do as Airbnb said. When she told William she was quitting, and that she’d contacted Airbnb and LAPD, he allegedly contacted Airbnb and told them that McCluskey was afraid to be in the room with his friend, an Hispanic male and thus was in violation of Airbnb’s non-discrimination policy. Airbnb ended up terminating McCluskey’s Airbnb account, and cancelling all her reservations, booting her off their platform. This in spite of the fact that McCluskey states that the LAPD had praised her actions.
On the other side, Hendricks asserts that McCluskey was using a false name, had been previously de-listed, was once caught using a security camera, and says she bragged about her ability to get people de-listed. He denied that any illegal drugs were involved and stated that McCluskey opened his mail w/o his permission, a felony crime.
Who’s telling the truth? That may never be revealed because the case will go to arbitration.
Lawsuit Against Airbnb by Veronica McCluskey
In this case we have a chance to see what happens when an Airbnb user sues AIrbnb and Airbnb asserts that the user agreed to Terms of SErvice which compel arbitration. In this case the judge agreed with Airbnb and compelled the Plaintiff to arbitration.
Airbnbs Motion to Compel Arbitration is Granted
In this case, a man booked a stay that he decided to cancel, and is suing because he got no refund from Airbnb:
Lawsuit Against Airbnb by Byron Hing
Here are some lawsuits against Airbnb filed in New York City
Start with a big one, the city itself suing AIrbnb to obtain private data about hosts:
NYC vs Airbnb Subpoena Duces Tecum
Airbnb also sued New York City, but the documents in that case are all sealed, not available to the public to view:
Parker Madision Partners suing Airbnb over violations of Fair business law
Christian Pugaczews sued saying he booked a place that was not as advertised, and was in a horrible state, causing him much expense when he had to stay elsewhere.
In this case, filed in 2014, New Yorkers who are Airbnb hosts, are suing Airbnb to stop it from handing over their private data to the city
New Yorkers sue AIrbnb to stop disclosures
A similar suit in 2018
New York Hosts sue AIrbnb to stop disclosures 2018
In this case, Jennifer Sheridan is suing both an AIrbnb host, and Airbnb, for her slip and fall injuries:
Jennifer Sheridan sues host and Airbnb
And this guest, Sophia Solovyova, sued her host and Airbnb when she was injured in an accident at the host’s property
SOPHIA_SOLOVYOVA_v_MARGARET_M_MCCANN and AIrbnb
And in this case, a glass table fell on a 2 yr old child in a Brooklyn Airbnb rental, and the parents sued the host and Airbnb
And another personal injury case, the plaintiff a Chinese national:
Lawsuits against Airbnb in Washington DC
In this case, the lawsuit was over false advertising for a listing not even located in the USA, but in Spain:
Babak Zahraie vs Airbnb
That case ended up being dismissed by the judge because the plaintiff did not show proof of service of the complaint.
In this case, a host sues Airbnb because a guest brought a knife into a room and another broke his front door lock, and he claims he did not get reimbursed.
That case was settled with Airbnb paying $500 of the $5000 that the plaintiff sued for:
Baltimore Maryland Cases
There is one recent court case in Baltimore Maryland which involves several interesting factors so it’s worth highlighting.
This case involves a long-time Baltimore host, Jeannette Belliveau, who was a SuperHost with over 500 Airbnb reviews, who had also done political advocacy work to support hosts in Baltimore.
In summer of 2018, guest Stephanie Akker stayed with Jeannette in her home.
Stephanie seemed to have a fine time, didn’t complain to Jeannette about anything. So Jeannette was quite disturbed to hear from Airbnb after Stephanies’ stay, that Airbnb was considering terminating Jeannette’s account on Airbnb over some type of violation of terms. After reading Stephanie’s review of her stay, Jeannette realized what had happened….the guest had made a false, defamatory statement about Jeannette in her review, and this false statement actually led Airbnb to terminate Jeannette’s account, without even bothering to consider Jeannette’s side of the story!
Read the rest of this story in a separate post, here: https://globalhostingblogs.com/2019/03/06/when-an-airbnb-host-is-terminated-based-on-false-statements-by-the-guest/
See Jeannette’s complaint here:
Jeannette Belliveau vs Airbnb Complaint and Affidavit
At times, individuals file suit against Airbnb, but fail to show up in court, and the case is dismissed by the judge for that reason, as with this case filed by Tanisha Fanney (and filed by court clerk Elias Butt, no less!) where Ms Fanney sued alleging discrimination as she was not allowed to stay in a listing with her alleged service animal. But she never showed up in court so the case was dismissed by the judge.
Lawsuit Against Airbnb by Tanisha Fanney
In that case, Airbnb didn’t send an attorney to court to represent them, but sent a paralegal instead!
Paralegal Shows up to represent Airbnb in Court
WHich was probably a good decision since the plaintiff didn’t bother to show up!
Tanisha Fanney case dismissed no show
Are you aware of any other lawsuits?
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