University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Selden v. Airbnb, Inc. FH-DC-0014
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-00933-CRC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Public Accomm./Contracting
Case Summary
On May 17, 2016, an African-American man whose request for accommodations through Airbnb was rejected because of his race, brought this lawsuit on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He sued Airbnb under Title II of ... read more >
On May 17, 2016, an African-American man whose request for accommodations through Airbnb was rejected because of his race, brought this lawsuit on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He sued Airbnb under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, alleging that the he, and all others similarly situated, had been injured by the pertinent discriminatory acts or practices committed by Airbnb's host agents, representatives, and servants. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that while planning a trip to Philadelphia, PA, he tried to use the housing accommodation service known as Airbnb but was told by an agent of Airbnb that the accommodation he was interested in was no longer available. However, the plaintiff soon found out that the accommodation was in fact still available, and after creating two fake accounts, one of a Black man and one of a White man, he found that the Airbnb host only offered the accommodation to the White individual.

Represented by Emejuru & Nyomnbi L.L.C., the plaintiff asked for judgment and damages including compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, and attorney's fees. On May 20, 2016, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint which also alleged a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

On July 13, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the case. In a November 1, 2016 opinion, U.S. District Court Judge found that Selden entered into a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement with Airbnb, and therefore granted Airbnb's motion to compel arbitration and stay the case. On November 7, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion for certification for interlocatory appeal, but there has not been a ruling on this motion as of December 12, 2016. This case is still open, and the Clearinghouse will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 12/17/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Housing
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Airbnb, Inc.
Plaintiff Description An African American man whose request for accommodations through Airbnb was rejected, because of his race, on his behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Date: Dec. 4, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:16-cv-00933-CRC (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
FH-DC-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/17/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 6]
FH-DC-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2016
Memorandum Opinion [Granting Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration] (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2016
Judges Cooper, Christopher Reid (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0014-0004 | FH-DC-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Emejuru, Ikechukwu (Maryland)
FH-DC-0014-0001 | FH-DC-0014-0003 | FH-DC-0014-9000
Nyombi, Andrew (Maryland)
FH-DC-0014-0001 | FH-DC-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kennedy, Ellen S. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0014-9000
Marotta, Sean (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0014-9000

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