SDM Defeats Motion for Class Certification in HomeAway Traveler-Fee Dispute
On March 21, 2020, Scott Douglass & McConnico secured a ruling denying class certification on behalf of vacation rental marketplace HomeAway.com, Inc. (d/b/a Vrbo), an Expedia subsidiary. The suit was brought by homeowners who previously offered their vacation properties for rent through HomeAway’s Vrbo.com website. The plaintiffs claim that homeowners and property managers suffered damages when HomeAway began charging a small service fee to travelers who book short-term rentals on HomeAway’s websites. After SDM secured an order dismissing plaintiffs’ breach-of-contract claims with prejudice, plaintiffs sought to certify their remaining claims as a class action on behalf of U.S. residents who previously listed properties for rent through HomeAway.
In its decision, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas sided with HomeAway, denying plaintiffs’ motion for class certification because plaintiffs’ claims require inquiries into individual reliance and damages that “would result in individual mini trials for each member of the class.” The court also granted HomeAway’s motion to exclude the opinion of plaintiffs’ proffered expert witness on class-wide damages. Citing testimony that SDM’s David Shank obtained at the expert’s deposition, the court found that the expert’s opinion “is not relevant to the availability of class-wide damages and therefore is not relevant to the case.
David Shank is lead counsel for HomeAway on the case. The SDM team also includes associate Sameer Hashmi and partners Michael Merriman and Steve McConnico. SDM previously secured dismissal of other, related putative class actions filed against HomeAway and Expedia.
Judge Rules in Favor of CTRMA
Ruling by U.S. District Judge allows the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority to continue construction of Texas 4 Southwest toll road.
Scott Douglass & McConnico lawyers Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman represent the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
Read more on the case and its implications for Austin road projects here.
Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman Prevail at 5th Circuit
SDM’s Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman successfully defended the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) against an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal brought by a group of plaintiffs attempting to stop construction on State Highway 45 Southwest. After the district court denied plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction in October 2016, the plaintiffs appealed and filed the emergency injunction motion with the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in Austin on the injunction application on November 4, then denied the motion just hours after argument. The order allowed CTRMA to start construction on State Highway 45 Southwest immediately. For more details on this dispute, see SDM’s October 24, 2016 news release.
The appeal is Fath, et al., v. Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, No. 16-51281 (5th Cir.).
SDM's Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman prevail in Texas 45 Injunction Hearing
SDM’s Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman successfully defended the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) against an application for preliminary injunction brought by a group of plaintiffs attempting to stop construction projects on State Highway 45 Southwest and MoPac South. Following an all-day injunction hearing in the Western District of Texas, the Court found that plaintiffs did not meet their burden to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims against CTRMA and the Texas Department of Transportation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The case is Fath, et al., v. Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, No. 16cv00234-LY (W.D. Tex).
More information on the CTRMA’s preliminary injunction win in federal district court can be found here and here.