U.S. Appeals Court sides with Uber, denies class action suits

Image: uber.com

Image: uber.com

Drivers who complained that “Uber misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid having to reimburse them for gasoline, vehicle maintenance, and other expenses,” were dealt a legal setback last month, according to a Reuters report in The New York Times.

“Uber Technologies Inc won a legal victory on Tuesday as a federal appeals court said drivers seeking to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors must arbitrate their claims individually, and not pursue class-action lawsuits,” the news report notes.

In a 3-0 decision on September 25, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court judge’s denial of Uber’s motion to compel arbitration in three lawsuits.

It also overturned the class certification in one of the lawsuits of thousands of California drivers who had driven for the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company since August 2009.

Uber Car-Under Fire From Coast To Coast

The Uber car-hailing app is under legal pressure from coast to coast, and managed to be featured in both the New York and Los Angeles Times this week. The more serious story is out of San Francisco, the home of Uber, where an administrative judge recommended that the ride-sharing giant be fined $7.3 million and be suspended from operating in California.
The LAT reports that, “… in her decision, chief administrative law judge Karen V. Clopton of the California Public Utilities Commission contended that Uber has not complied with state laws designed to ensure that drivers are doling out rides fairly to all passengers, regardless of where they live or who they are. She said Uber’s months-long refusal to provide such data is in violation of the 2013 law that legalized ride-hailing firms.”
The paper reported that Uber said it would appeal.
In New York, a City Council vote is expected as early as next week, says the NYT, “… on a proposal that would place a cap on Uber’s growth, pending a study of traffic patterns, the sides have become entangled in a protracted struggle, on camera and off, over the future of mobility in the city.” Uber says that would “break” it in NYC. And it’s not just in the United States. The European governments or taxi companies. More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed in recent months in countries across the continent, where some analysts say the company is in danger of being shut down or becoming so entangled in legislation as to be neutered.
Read up on the latest here.

S.F And L.A. Sue Uber Car Service

If district attorneys from two big cities think you or I are breaking the law, they send the cops. But if you are a company valued at $40 billion, they send the civil attorneys. The San Francisco Chronicle and other outlets are reporting that “… both San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys filed a consumer protection lawsuit against on-demand ride service Uber on Tuesday, saying it misleads customers about driver background checks and violates state laws about airport rides and calculating fares.”
The newspaper reports that Uber’s rival service Lyft settled similar allegations and agreed to pay up to $500,000 in civil fines.
“Uber refused to comply with straightforward Caifornia laws to protect consumers from harm,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said at a news conference. “Companies can be innovative without harming consumers.”
Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend had a different take: “Californians and California lawmakers all agree — Uber is an integral, safe, and established part of the transportation ecosystem in the Golden State…”