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Airbnb Settles Lawsuit With Major Landlord

Just days before the trial was to start, Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) and Airbnb settled their pending lawsuit in Florida state court. Specific causes of action included tortious interference with lease agreements, trespass and aiding and abetting trespass, and deceptive and unfair trade practices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both sides appear to be content with the settlement, and possibly willing to look for ways in which they can work together.

Wisconsin Lakefront Property OK for Short-Term Rental, Court Rules

In the age of the part-time gig and the side hustle, many people try to make extra income by renting out their homes through companies like Airbnb. But not everyone loves these endeavors. The hospitality industry often sees it as a threat and fights it in many cities. And community members aren't always happy to have new neighbors coming and going every few weeks.

In one Wisconsin neighborhood, property owners have been at war over the legality of one couple's use of their home as a rental property. After years of litigation, the state Supreme Court has ruled that their lakefront property may be used as a short-term rental.

This week, a controversial ruling was handed down by New York's highest court affecting the Big Apple's adult entertainment businesses. Adult book and video stores, as well as locations that offer live entertainment, or video booths, will now be forced to close if they are within 500 feet of a school, church, park, residential, or even commercial area. If you've ever been in NYC, you know that pretty much covers the entire city.

The recent ruling overturned a previous case which allowed adult entertainment stores to continue operating after the city attempted to institute a ban against these businesses in the 1990s. While a challenge to the ruling is anticipated, only the United States Supreme Court can overturn the ruling, and this might not be the type of case SCOTUS wants to take up.

Nearly a year ago, Airbnb filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, challenging a law the city passed attempting to regulate their disruption of the hotel industry. The legislation not only required Airbnb host-users to register with the city and adhere to strict limits, the city made it illegal for the company to collect fees from the host-users that were not registered with the city as short-term rental providers.

Airbnb challenged the law on the basis that it violated a federal act protecting the online publishers of information from liability. Unfortunately for Airbnb, a federal judge found their argument unconvincing. The court explained that the San Francisco law did not penalize anything involved with the publishing of information, but rather, penalized the separate conduct of collecting fees from hosts that do not register with the city.

In the wake of that decision, Airbnb and the city reached a settlement after much negotiation and problem solving. The settlement will allow business to continue for Airbnb while also accomplishing the goals the city's legislation sought to achieve.

This week, the Supreme Court issued a decision that could have far reaching implications for the relationship between local governments and businesses, like banks and lenders, involved in real estate. In short, SCOTUS ruled that cities and local governments, under certain conditions, are "aggrieved individuals" that can bring claims for damages pursuant to the Fair Housing Act. However, those damages need to be rather certain.

The case involved the city of Miami's charge of racially discriminatory predatory lending against Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The city claimed that the discriminatory practices of the banks targeted Hispanic and African American minorities for predatory loan schemes, which defaulted at a high rate in concentrated minority areas, and as a result, caused the city economic injury. The economic injury came as a result of not just the decreased tax revenue, but also as a result of increased city expenses.

The Federal Appellate Court for the Fifth Circuit rejected the appeal of a few organizations that are trying to protect a controversial, Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Three of the four monuments that are the subjects of this litigation can now be removed and stored pending a more appropriate location (if that even exists).

In the short, three-page, court order ruling against those seeking to preserve the Confederate monuments, issued yesterday, the Court of Appeals specifically states that the groups' legal claims "wholly lack legal viability and support." The group asserted arguments that the city did not own the monuments, nor the property where the monuments were located, and that their protectable interest stemmed from the Napoleonic principle of negotiorum gestio, which is a barely recognized principle anywhere but Louisiana.

The San Francisco Academy of Art has agreed to settle the lawsuit filed against them by San Francisco's City Attorney after nearly a decade-long dispute. The academy will pay $20 million to the city (over the next five years) for various housing, code, and zoning ordinance violations they committed in San Francisco over the past decade, while the housing crisis was at an all time peak. Additionally, as part of the settlement, the academy will spend nearly $40 million on bringing two of their own buildings into compliance and offering 160 units of affordable housing to seniors.

While the city might be trying to spin this settlement as a positive result, the Academy's attorney made it clear that they would have accepted this same settlement deal without litigation being filed. The academy has 40 buildings across the city and could easily turn quite a nice profit just by serving as a landlord in one of the most expensive cities in the country. The lawsuit alleged that 33 of the 40 buildings owned by the academy in the city were out of compliance. Furthermore, the academy allegedly illegally converted several building they purchased from residential use to commercial use.

The downtown Los Angeles underground light rail has finally gotten the green light from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two downtown businesses, a shopping plaza and a hotel, filed suit back in 2013 to stop the construction, claiming that the construction would have a negative impact on their businesses. The two businesses specifically claimed that the noise from the construction, as well as other impacts from the construction, would disturb the retail mall's shoppers as well as the hotel's guests.

Last year, the federal court granted summary judgment against the businesses, however the businesses appealed. After over three years of litigation, it looks like the construction may finally begin on the new lines.

The Supreme Court is reaching the final cases of its October 2014 term, and has some doozies on the docket.

From raisin rights to marriage rights and the right to a humane execution, here are some of the highlights on next week's SCOTUS oral argument calendar.

Mass. Strip Club Can Buck Regulations Thanks to Federal Ruling

A strip club in Massachusetts can operate with fewer restrictions thanks to a recent federal appellate court's ruling.

Showtime Entertainment LLC sued the town of Mendon because of the hamlet's "maze of regulations" which made it near impossible to establish or operate an adult entertainment business there. Mendon's bylaws focused specifically on adult entertainment businesses like Showtime, requiring them to be within a size and height limit, mandating off-duty policemen to patrol the business, and forbidding alcohol.

Why did the court rule for Showtime over Mendon's rules?