City of San Antonio wins major lawsuit
10-31-2009

As recently reported in the San Antonio Express News, the City of San Antonio received a watershed verdict against online travel agencies accused of pocketing tax revenue. In the first case of its kind to go to jury, the jury awarded to the City of San Antonio $20.6 million dollars, which will be paid by the ten or so companies named in the complaint. 

The article read in part as follows:

In a landmark case, the city of San Antonio on Friday won a $20.6 million verdict against the major online travel companies accused of pocketing hotel occupancy taxes.

The federal jury deliberated over two days before returning a verdict that found 11 companies liable for underpaying taxes. The jury also declined the city's request to impose $40 million in punitive damages.

How much the city will ultimately collect from the verdict will be determined later by a judge. Other cities that joined San Antonio's lawsuit will also get a share of the $20 million, but San Antonio's portion will be the largest — if the verdict stands.

The defendants include the operators of Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Lodging.com, Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com, Site59.com and others. The Expedia family of companies — Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Hotwire.com — were found responsible for roughly 70 percent of the jury award.