State Supreme Court Rejects NY Attorney General’s Subpoena In Airbnb Case

Airbnb has witnessed good growth despite the consistent backlash from authorities and the house rental industry in multiple U.S. states. The company has good news in New York where State Supreme Court has overruled the Attorney General’s subpoena meant to access Airbnb records.


The key problem that Airbnb has faced over the years is that it is essentially a next-generation house rental model. This doesn’t sit well with the conventional rental industry because Airbnb is chipping away at others’ profits. Rather than improve, the rental industry thus wants Airbnb shuttered one way or the other.

And sadly, the authorities seem to be similar minded. There are countless regulatory hurdles that can be chucked in front of a company that the authorities don’t want functioning. Airbnb is facing that kind of treatment in multiple U.S. states, including New York where the Attorney General seems to have taken a special dislike towards the service.

The Attorney General’s office previously issued a subpoena demanding access to thousands of Airbnb records, identifying hosts and their elaborate personal details. Airbnb decried this as unfair, citing how the request was overly broad. After months of deliberation, State Supreme Court Judge Gerald Connolly has ruled in favor of Airbnb.

According to Judge Connolly’s ruling, “While petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating that the subpoena is overbroad, as petitioner argues, a plain reading of the subpoena in light of Multiple Dwelling Law §4 and the tax provisions and materials at issue meet such burden. Based upon the foregoing, the subpoena at issue, as drafted, seeks materials that are irrelevant to the inquiry at hand and accordingly, must be quashed.”

Airbnb has hailed the decision, citing that it wants to collaborate with the Attorney General’s office so that rental services like Airbnb can be made more secure. The Attorney General’s office, on the other hand, seems adamant on using high-strung statements to depict how pissed it is at Airbnb and how it will continue the witch-hunt.

The wording of the statement from AG’s office reads, “The judge’s decision specifically found evidence that a ‘substantial’ number of Airbnb hosts may be violating the tax laws and the law that prohibits illegal hotels. This comes as no surprise, given that Airbnb itself removed some 2,000 New York-based listings from its site. Our office is committed to enforcing a law that provides vital protections for building residents and tourists alike. The judge rejected all of AirBnb’s arguments except for a narrow technical issue, and we will reissue the subpoena to address it.”

Clearly, Airbnb’s troubles in New York are far from over and the company will apparently have to continue facing AG’s overzealous legal battles in the coming days.

Courtesy: TechCrunch

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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