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Uber Services, lawsuits & Class Action Updates

Uber the bully

The rideshare company Uber has been in the news a lot lately – usually for reasons that reflect unfavorably on the company.

Uber has riled up state and local regulatory agencies around the country, rankled its drivers by denying them fair wages and benefits, and even been embroiled in at least one sexual harassment suit.

Uber has been behaving like a bully. But all bullies eventually get their comeuppance.

If you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, you may be in a position to take down this bully of the American roads.

What is Uber, anyway?

Uber calls itself a “transportation networking company,” but it’s usually referred to as a “rideshare” or “ride-hailing” company. In a nutshell, its business model is that of a crowdsourced taxi company.

Anyone with the Uber smartphone app can submit a ride request. The app then connects with Uber drivers in the area, who are usually regular folks who make a little extra money by acting as part-time taxi drivers. Uber accepts payment by credit or debit card only.

Uber services are available in scores of countries and hundreds of cities worldwide. The company offers several “tiers” of service.

• Black car: Uber’s standard service, which allows up to four passengers to ride together.
• UberX: A low-cost option for up to four passengers.
• Uber XL: A low-cost option for up to six passengers.
• UberSUV: A higher-cost option for up to six passengers.
• UberLUX: A luxury option, with room for up to four passengers.
• UberTaxi: A partnership between Uber and local taxi companies.

Who drives for Uber?

Though most of the people who drive for Uber are regular folks, the company won’t accept “just anyone” as a driver.

Uber requires that all drivers:
• be over the age of 21
• drive a model-year 2005 car or newer
• possess a personal license and registration
• pass a background check.
As far as Uber is concerned, the people who drive for it are independent contractors – which means that Uber does not have to provide them with benefits, even if the drivers are on the road for 40 or more hours per week.

Many of the lawsuits that have been filed against Uber have been filed by drivers who feel they’ve received unfair treatment from the company. Numerous drivers and former drivers have filed suits against Uber over unpaid overtime, workers’ compensation, and wage law violations. Many of these suits are still working their way through the court system.

Uber Insurance

Uber requires all of its drivers to be insured, but the type of insurance can vary, depending on the locality and the service that the driver provides.

Generally speaking, each Uber vehicle is insured at the following levels:

• $1 million in liability coverage per incident
• $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per incident
• Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage
• Up to $50,000 bodily injury coverage per incident/individual, with a total of $100,000 per accident and up to $25,000 for property damage.
• In some states, no-fault coverage may be provided.

In other words, Uber drivers are certain to be well-insured. For all of the company’s other missteps, it is aware that insufficiently insuring its drivers would be a major error.

Uber accident lawsuits

Because Uber drivers are well-insured, you have a good chance of obtaining financial compensation if you are involved in an accident with an Uber vehicle.

In general, there are two kinds of Uber accident lawsuits: those in which you are a passenger in an Uber vehicle that is involved in an accident, and those in which you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian who is struck by an Uber vehicle.

If you were in an Uber car that crashed, we can help you.

If you were in another car – or were simply walking down the street – when you were struck by an Uber car, we can help you.

In many Uber accident cases, the crashes are caused by distracted driving. Often, this is because Uber drivers must necessarily refer to their smartphones while driving. Uber drivers are constantly looking at their smartphone screens, so their eyes aren’t always on the road.

But Uber accidents can also be caused by just about anything that can cause any other car accident: road conditions, weather conditions, other drivers, obstacles, and so on. But because you put your trust in Uber to deliver you safely to your destination, you take on a risk when you get in an Uber vehicle. The compensation you may receive for your Uber accident may reflect that risk.

Uber drivers have been involved in personal injury lawsuits as well as wrongful death lawsuits. The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are experts in both of these branches of law.

How TheLawFirm.com can help

Uber has tried to carve out a space for itself in a “gray area”: it claims it’s not a cab company, even though it offers taxi services. And Uber claims that those who drive for it are not employees but independent contractors, even though they sometimes work more than 40 hours.

Uber has tried to weasel its way out of lawsuit after lawsuit. But in cases in which an Uber vehicle has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, we feel that there’s no wiggle room at all. If you’re involved in an Uber-related crash, we can help you receive compensation from Uber.

After an Uber accident, you may suffer from injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering of various kinds. We believe that those circumstances entitle you to financial compensation, and we want to help you obtain it.

If you’ve been in an Uber accident and it was not your fault, you owe it to yourself to contact TheLawFirm.com right away. You don’t pay us a cent unless and until we win your case for you.

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Uber Class Action Lawsuit Updates


Uber Must Face Breach of Contract Class Action Suit

August 2, 2017
A judge in California has ruled that ride-hailing giant Uber must face a class action suit from drivers who allege that the company breached its contract in denying them certain types of pay.

At issue in the case is Uber’s “upfront pricing model,” which charges passengers a projected fare before their ride actually begins, but pays drivers based on the distance and time actually driven. The suit’s central complaint is that this payment model limits drivers’ earnings and constitutes a breach of their employment contract.

The case has been kicking around the courts for some six months, with Uber repeatedly attempting to block it. The recent ruling ensures that the case will proceed.

Neither party indicated what its next legal steps would be.

If you believe you’ve been treated unfairly by Uber or another ride-hailing company, or if you’ve been in an auto accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicle, you may have a case. Contact TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you.

National Labor Relations Board Wants to Revive Uber Contract Employee Suit

July 17, 2017
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has requested the revival of a proposed class action suit against embattled rideshare giant Uber. The suit accuses Uber of misclassifying driver as independent contractors as a means of unjustly pocketing their tips.

The basis of the request to revive the suit is the NLRB’s insistence that it is illegal for a company to force employees who seek collection action into individual arbitration. Such a law is still in force, according to the NLRB’s amicus brief, even in cases in which employees have had a chance to opt out of any arbitration agreements.

Drivers in the original suit allege that Uber denied them tips, wages, and health insurance because they had been unfairly misclassified as independent contractors rather than as full-time employees.

The NLRB stressed that the National Labor Relations Act holds that all employees have the right to pursue collective litigation, and that employers may not force employees to seek individual arbitration.

Many of the lawsuits facing Uber in courts across the country center on the company’s practice of classifying its employees as independent contractors.

If you’ve been treated unfairly by Uber, or if you’ve been involved in an auto accident involving an Uber vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact TheLawFirm.com for a free consultation.

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Uber Sued for Failure to Outfit Vehicles for Disabled Passengers

July 20, 2017
Uber, the ride-hailing giant that has found itself in numerous kinds of legal trouble in several cities and states, has been sued in New York for its alleged failure to outfit its vehicles with ramps or lifts for passengers who do not possess a full range of movement abilities.

The case, filed by the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, the Taxis for All Campaign, Disabled Action of Metropolitan New York, and numerous private citizens, alleges that 99.9 percent of Uber vehicles are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs or who have other movement disabilities.

While Uber does have some vehicles with suitable accommodations, plaintiffs in the class action suit allege that the dearth of such vehicles creates unfair delays for disabled Uber users, and thus discriminates against them.

Uber faces court challenges in various cities for its practice of classifying drivers as contractors rather than as employees, for sexual harassment, and for regulatory issues of various kinds.

If you have been discriminated against by Uber or another ride service, or if you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, you may have a case. TheLawFirm.com can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

North Carolina Judge Grants Certification to Uber Drivers in Class Action Suit

July 14, 2017
Uber drivers who opted out of an arbitration agreement with the ride-hailing giant may file a collective class action suit, ruled a federal judge in North Carolina. The case rests on whether drivers were misclassified as independent contractors.

The case, to which the judge granted conditional approval, would be filed under the rubric of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Paul Maslo, stated that he believed between 18,000 and 19,000 members of the class.

At issue is whether Uber, in classifying its drivers as contractors instead of employees, has deprived them of wages, overtime, and certain benefits to which the drivers would be entitled under FLSA. A specific claim is that Uber uses this classification system to avoid compensating their drivers for time spent waiting for fares.

Uber has come under fire in several cities and states for regulatory issues, employment law violations, and sexual harassment.

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by Uber, or if you’ve been in an accident that involves an Uber vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you.

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Drivers Urge Judge to Hear Case on Uber’s Controversial Pricing Model

July 6, 2017

In a class action suit currently before a California federal court, a group of plaintiffs urged the judge to reject Uber’s attempt to dismiss a suit currently pending against the company for its allegedly unfair pricing model. Uber has argued that the plaintiffs’ case is fundamentally invalid; the plaintiffs insist in no uncertain terms that their case is clear.

In Uber’s “upfront pricing model,” passengers are charged before their ride actually begins. Those charges are determined by what plaintiffs allege to be inflated projections of the time and distance of the actual ride. Drivers receive a portion of the fare, but that portion is calculated by reference to the time and distance actually driven. The discrepancy between the two methods of pricing is at the heart of the suit, which alleges that Uber pockets money that should go to drivers.

Arguments on both sides were heated.

The California suit is one of many Uber currently faces. The ride-hailing company has been taken to task by numerous state and local governments for reasons including unfair compensation, sexual harassment, and regulatory issues.

If you believe you’ve been treated unfairly by Uber or another ride-hailing company, or if you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident that involved an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicle, you may have a case. Contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you.

Uber Driver Loses Bid for FLSA Action

June 28, 2017
A Florida federal judge has denied an Uber driver’s bid to certify a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collection action, stating that he had failed to demonstrate that other Uber drivers who had similar concerns wished to join the suit.

The driver, Sebastian A. Rojas, alleges that Uber has not paid its drivers a minimum wage for all of the hours they’ve worked, has not paid overtime, and has improperly classified its employees as independent contractors. Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., however, ruled that Rojas misunderstands the nature of FLSA class action cases, and has not shown that other Uber drivers are interested in joining his lawsuit.

Rojas filed an affidavit that states that others would join his suit, but has not submitted any additional information about other drivers and has not collected affidavits from other potential plaintiffs.

Rojas is not the first Uber driver to file complaints against ride-sharing giant Uber, which has run into legal difficulties in numerous cities and states over its classification of employees and other practices.

If you or someone you know has been treated unfairly by Uber, or has been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com. We can help.

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Uber Strikes Back against Class-Action Suit Over Driver Wages

June 27, 2017
One of the many lawsuits filed against ride-share giant Uber is founded on claims that the company breached its contract in that its “upfront pricing model” actually served to deny drivers the wages they fairly earned. Now, the company is moving to have that suit dismissed.

Uber filed a motion to dismiss the class-action suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs misunderstood the contract.

The upfront pricing model charges riders a fee before the ride even begins, but such fares are often calculated on inflated projections of the time and distance of the ride. The suit alleges that Uber calculated its drivers’ shares of the fares based on the actual fare, not based on the fare that the company itself uses to secure the fares. Uber, the suit alleges, pockets the difference in this rigged equation.

Notably, Uber is not denying pocketing the difference. Rather, the company’s motion to dismiss is grounded on an allegation that its drivers misunderstood the contract’s usage of the upfront pricing model.

Central to the class-action suit is the fact that Uber tells drivers they will retain 80 percent of the fares they collect, but that the actual percentage yields turn out to be far lower than that.

If you’ve been stiffed by Uber, or if you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com. We can help.

Uber Moves to Discredit Employment Lawsuits

Update June 16, 2017
Uber, the troubled ride-sharing company, continues to use every litigation device at its disposal to discredit the lawsuits brought by disgruntled employees. Uber recently filed a brief in federal court that encourages the court to dismiss claims by drivers who assert that they are or were employees proper, not independent contractors.

The grounds for Uber’s current motion state that, since drivers opted out of arbitration, their lawsuits have been invalidated. The suit has been in the courts for four years.

Should Uber drivers past and present be classified in the eyes of the state as employees rather than as contractors, the company could be liable for enormous financial payouts in the form of employee benefits and other compensation.

The cases against Uber are numerous and complex, and the company is fighting them on several fronts.

If you feel that you’ve been cheated out of fairly earned compensation by Uber or another ride-sharing company, or if you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com.

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Uber Arbitration Misled Workers

June 15, 2017
A judge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Uber must rescind or revise a dispute resolution that the company reached with its software engineers. According to the judge, the agreement does not clearly inform employees of their right to file unfair labor charges.

Judge Mara-Louise Anzalone ruled that the dispute resolution wrongfully misleads Uber software engineers to believe that they are unable to file charges with the NLRB, though in fact they legally entitled to do so. At issue was the “legal jargon” in the agreement, which rendered this point particularly unclear.

Uber, the app-based ride-sharing company, has run into a number of legal difficulties at the state and federal level. In particular, numerous cases have been filed pertaining to the company’s unfair treatment and/or classification of its drivers as contractors rather than as employees who are entitled to benefits. The NLRB case presents another angle on Uber’s troubled relationship with its employees.

If you believe you’ve been treated unjustly by Uber, contact TheLawFirm.com.

NY Uber Drivers Entitled to Employee Status

Update June 15, 2017
Troubled ride-sharing giant Uber has experienced more than its share of legal difficulties in state and federal court. Now, a court in New York has delivered a potentially serious blow to Uber’s firmly held contention that its drivers are not employees but independent contractors.

A judge in New York state’s labor department has ruled that Uber drivers are entitled to receive employee benefits, despite the company’s claim that, since they set their own schedules and were not required to report absences, the company’s drivers are actually contractors.

Companies are not legally obligated to pay employee benefits to independent contractors.

Judge Michelle Burrowes argued that Uber had “exercised sufficient supervision, direction and control” over their drivers for the drivers to be considered, in the eyes of the laws of the state of New York, employees proper. Burrowes cited the company’s requirement that drivers accept at least 90 percent of ride requests.

The case could have ramifications not only for Uber’s bottom line, but for how the company is viewed by regulatory agencies in all of the states in which it operates.

If you’ve run into legal difficulties with Uber or other ride-sharing services, contact TheLawFirm.com. We can help.

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Uber Fires 20 Employees After Internal Investigation

June 6, 2017
The New York Times reports that troubled ride-hailing company Uber has just fired 20 employees after conducting an investigation into its workplace culture. The individuals have not been named.

Still the 900-pound gorilla in the ride-hailing field, Uber has recently seemed vulnerable to threats both internal and external. In numerous American cities – and in numerous courts of law – Uber has run into regulatory and tax difficulties concerning whether its drivers should be classified as employees or as independent contractors. Uber employees past and present have spoken out about a cutthroat workplace culture, and at least one former employee has charged that the company failed to act on the sexual harassment complaint she made.

To address its internal struggles, Uber has contracted with two law firms to conduct investigations and make recommendations. The firings come after a report by the law firm Perkins Coie. Uber has also hired Covington & Burling, the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, to conduct a further investigation. Covington & Burling’s report has not yet been made public.

If you believe you have a legal complaint against a ride-hailing company, contact us. The consultation is free, and our expert ride-hailing attorneys will help you any way they can.

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