Judge flips class-action switch on Uber drivers' lawsuit against cab biz

All 160,000 can stand in claim over tips, says beak

A California judge has granted class-action status to a suit filed on behalf of Uber drivers.

Judge Edward M Chen said the state's roughly 160,000 drivers from UberX, Uber Black, and Uber SUV services can sue the dial-a-ride broker taking a portion of tips.

Three drivers had filed suit against Uber on behalf of drivers for all three services in California. The drivers had asked the judge to allow for a single case against Uber to be filed on behalf of all drivers, while Uber has countered that the drivers should be considered independent contractors ineligible to file suit against Uber as a class.

In a mixed ruling [PDF], the judge found that Uber drivers will have the right to pursue the class action case against Uber over tips, but a class-action claim over reimbursement for driver expenses would be dismissed without prejudice.

The order will allow drivers to file in the class-action provided they meet the following criteria:

All UberBlack, UberX, and UberSUV drivers who have driven for Uber in the state of California at any time since August 16, 2009, and who (1) signed up to drive directly with Uber or an Uber subsidiary under their individual name, and (2) are/were paid by Uber or an Uber subsidiary directly and in their individual name, and (3) did not electronically accept any contract with Uber or one of Uber's subsidiaries which contains the notice and opt-out provisions previously ordered by this Court (including those contracts listed in the Appendix to this Order), unless the driver timely opted out of that contract's arbitration agreement.

Both sides will have the right to appeal or file a response to the ruling before the case moves forward as a class-action.

Uber has maintained that the drivers should not qualify to file in a class-action status, something the company maintains. ®


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