Federal Judge Chary|of Uber’s Appeal

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Uber’s motion to stay an arbitration case brought by former drivers was denied in part and granted in part Wednesday by a federal judge, who doubts Uber’s chances on appeal.
     U.S. Judge Edward Chen found that Uber has not “demonstrated that it has a reasonable probability” of persuading the Ninth Circuit that certain clauses in its employment contracts with drivers are enforceable.
      In June , Chen called Uber’s online services agreement with its drivers “unconscionable,” and rejected Uber’s motions to compel arbitration.
     Uber argued that the court mistakenly took issue with parts of its services agreement that require drivers to handle employment disputes strictly through arbitration. It claimed that the arbitration provision is plainly stated and does not contradict other clauses in the contract.
     Referring to his June order and to two California Court of Appeal cases, Chen found it appropriate to consider the language of a contract as a whole and struck Uber’s claim.
     “Notably, Uber has failed to cite a single case that stands for the proposition that it advocates,” Chen wrote in his 14-page order.
     Former Uber contractors Abdul Kadir Mohamed and Ronald Gillette sued Uber in November 2014, claiming they were suddenly denied access to the Uber system without reason.
     Uber contends its drivers sign agreements mandating all disputes be handled via arbitration and has appealed Chen’s decision to the Ninth Circuit.
     Chen wrote that Uber has “overestimated its likelihood of success” in the Ninth Circuit and the extent to which its 2014 driver agreement contracts are “visually conspicuous.”
     In the order, Chen criticizes Uber for failing to cite a case with “obvious importance to the issues in this case” (Gentry, 42 Cal 4th at 472 n. 10) and says Uber shouldn’t expect to be successful in its appeal.
     Last week an administrative law judge found that Uber should be fined $7.3 million for breaking state laws, including disabled accessibility and employment.
     On Monday, a federal judge rejected Uber’s request to dismiss a false advertising lawsuit brought by 19 Californian cab companies.
     As the lawsuits pile up against Uber across the Golden State, it did receive a favorable ruling Wednesday from Chen on non-discovery motions. Chen ordered that the case be stayed “for all purposes with the exception of reasonable discovery” while the arbitration case is appealed in the Ninth Circuit.
     Plaintiffs argued that if the court granted Uber a stay, it would prevent other parties from joining the lawsuit, and the delay could risk the loss of relevant evidence. Chen disagreed, saying other parties could join if plaintiffs file an amended complaint and that plaintiffs could continue with reasonably discovery while the case is appealed.
     Uber could not be reached for comment after hours Wednesday.

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