A New York real estate broker’s attempt to bring a class action against Airbnb was derailed Friday when U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick of the Southern District of New York granted the home-sharing platform’s motion to dismiss the case after finding plaintiff Parker Madison Partners lacked Article III standing.
In its motion, Airbnb’s counsel, Kaplan & Co. name attorney Roberta Kaplan, called the suit “a contrivance, invented by lawyers,” who were taking their second shot at suing the company. According to the defendant, the same counsel brought the suit Plazza v. Airbnb a year ago. After Airbnb moved to compel arbitration, the current suit claimed damages to the real estate broker market.
“But Plaintiff is neither a competitor of Airbnb nor a user of Airbnb’s internet platform,” Airbnb’s attorneys argued. “And Parker Madison certainly has not pleaded the kind of concrete and particularized injury that is a necessary prerequisite for invoking this Court’s jurisdiction.”
Broderick, in his 11-page opinion in the current suit Parker Madison Partners v. Airbnb, 16-cv-08939, agreed with Airbnb that the plaintiff failed to show any material harm done to brokers. The allegations, he wrote, “consist of conclusory statements and untethered assertions” against the company.
Airbnb doesn’t operate like a brokerage, nor is it licensed in New York to do so, Broderick noted. Despite plaintiff’s claims of harm being done to the real estate broker business, the judge found they failed to provide “any details whatsoever as to any actual injury to Plaintiff connected to Airbnb’s activities.”
“In fact, as Defendant points out in its brief, there are no allegations in the Amended Complaint concerning any current or potential clients that have been lost to Airbnb, nor are there even claims stating that Plaintiff operates in the same market as Airbnb, let alone any allegations revealing how Plaintiff competes with Airbnb,” he wrote.
Even when given the opportunity to provide details in its opposition to the motion to dismiss, Broderick said the plaintiff failed to respond to issues brought up by the defendant or “in any way offer how it has been actually injured by Airbnb’s actions.”
“Indeed, Plaintiff’s failure to point to any such facts is particularly telling given that Airbnb has been in business since 2008, and one would expect that if, in fact, Plaintiff suffered harm, it would be able to articulate that harm with a modicum of detail,” he wrote.
Parker Madison Partners counsel, Newman Ferrara partner Jeffrey Norton, said in an email he and his clients were reviewing the opinion and considering our options, including whether to pursue an appeal.
Kaplan did not respond to requests to comment on the decision.