Amended Complaint|OK’d in Uber Tip Case

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Former Uber drives can file a second amended complaint against the ride-hail upstart and add three plaintiffs rather than fix prior deficiencies, a federal judge ruled.
     The drivers had requested to file an amended complaint adding plaintiffs and a new cause of action against Uber, in a class action alleging the company misclassifies its drivers as independent contractors and keeps their tips.
     Lead plaintiff and former driver Hakan Yucesoy, who worked for Uber in Massachusetts, asked U.S. District Judge Edward Chen to allow a new cause of action against Uber over violations of California labor law.
     But Chen denied the former driver’s request, saying California labor laws cannot apply to plaintiffs who worked in other states.
     “Thus, plaintiffs’ requested amendment would be futile – if amendment were permitted, the court would simply follow its earlier decision and dismiss the section 2802 claims with prejudice on extraterritoriality grounds,” Chen wrote.
     Uber contested the additional plaintiffs as well, arguing that they are bound to a different arbitration agreement than the original plaintiffs. The company also argued it would waste resources by having to bring another motion to compel against the new plaintiffs.
     Chen disagreed, saying Uber has already spent considerable time arguing the enforceability of its 2014 arbitration provisions.
     “Requiring Uber to bring another motion to compel pursuant to these same contracts is unlikely to require the expenditure of considerable effort or resources from any party to this litigation,” Chen ruled.
     Chen referenced his recent ruling that Uber’s 2014 arbitration agreements are unconscionable and unenforceable, and said the additional plaintiffs that signed the contracts can be added.
     At issue in the case, originally filed October 2014 in Massachusetts, is whether Uber violates Massachusetts tips law and other contractual and employment provisions. The case was transferred to Northern California because of a contract clause requiring lawsuits be handled in San Francisco.
     Last month, Chen threw out three causes of action including breach of contract and violations of Massachusetts minimum and overtime wage laws with leave to amend.

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