Uber Can’t Force Arbitration With Nothing More Than its Employee’s Statements

Simon S. Grille

Last year, a group of consumers sued Uber for flooding their cell phones with unwanted text messages.  The consumers claimed that they had never signed up for Uber’s services but were still getting bombarded with Uber text messages, even after telling Uber to stop texting them. In response to the lawsuit, Uber ignored the merits of the claims and instead argued that the consumers waived their right to bring a class action by agreeing to Uber’s fine print Terms and Conditions. The Terms include an “arbitration clause,” which says Uber users will resolve their disputes with Uber in private arbitration.  (For more information on arbitration, see our post here.)

One plaintiff rejected Uber’s bare assertion that he agreed to the Terms. He attested under oath that he had no recollection of signing up for Uber and, through his attorneys at Girard Sharp, argued that it was insufficient for Uber to simply claim that he signed up without producing any records to support that claim.  Girard Sharp demanded that Uber produce the employee responsible for maintaining Uber’s records to give testimony under oath.  Uber refused to produce the witness and asked the Court to protect its employee from giving testimony. 

On February 6, the Court rejected Uber’s attempt to hide its employee and chastised Uber for its “recalcitrance” in attempting to keep a consumer out of court without producing sufficient evidence that the consumer waived his right to bring a class action.  The Court’s order includes a five-point rebuke of all of Uber’s arguments.  A copy of the order is attached here.


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