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WCM and Airbnb Obtain 3211(a)(7) Dismissal in New York County

July 6, 2023

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A few weeks ago, WCM partner Brian Gibbons, in collaboration with Airbnb's legal team, achieved a resounding victory in a NY County premises case.    Specifically, Plaintiffs Eric Miller and Nelson Fogarty alleged injuries when a wooden handrail broke while renting a unit through Airbnb in 2019.  In addition to asserting claims against other parties, Plaintiffs claimed that Airbnb assisted with the short-term rental of the unit and therefore owed them a duty of care. However, last month the Supreme Court of the State of New York granted a Pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss. <strong><a href="">The Court decided</a> that pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) that Plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action against Airbnb, holding that Airbnb does not owe a duty to Plaintiffs. </strong>This was the crux of Airbnb's argument -- that Airbnb is simply a platform for guests to book with hosts, but that Airbnb has no duty to invitees, much like an application like OpenTable has no duty to restaurant guests.

The outcome of this case has significant implications for Airbnb.   The court reasoned that Airbnb did not own, control, or operate the premises and did not enter into any contractual relationship with Plaintiffs. This decision clarifies Airbnb's role as a platform that facilitates short-term rentals, but does not owe a duty of care to plaintiffs in situations where injuries occur on the rented properties.  The plaintiffs' case continues against other parties, but Airbnb's lack of duty is clear based on the Court's decision.    Thanks to Corey Weisfeld for his contribution to this post.  Please email <strong><a href="">Brian Gibbons</a></strong> with any questions about the decision or our premises liability defense practice.


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