Judges Tosses Cabbie’s Uber Lawsuit in Calif.

     SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge on Tuesday tossed a class action that claimed Uber’s network of drivers violates national transportation rules.
     U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar found jurisdiction was lacking in regard to the plaintiffs’ claims the Uber flouts California Public Utilities Commission regulations and found others related to supposed lost driver revenues purely speculative.
     In August 2015, taxicab owner Stewart Rosen sued Uber Technologies, Rasier LLC and Rasier-CA LLC for taking business away from him and other taxicab drivers by operating as a direct competitor without following the same rules.
     Rosen claimed Uber allowed its drivers to make thousands of trips to airports without permits which had a direct impact on his revenue.
     He also alleged many Uber drivers did not have proof of insurance or valid driver’s licenses, all of which violated California law.
     Rosen also claimed he lost money after Uber used its website to disparage taxicab services with statements like “No more waiting alone on a dark street hoping you can hail a taxi” while advertising that it provided the “safest rides on the road.”
     In addition, Uber’s website also touts its commitment to safety by providing an explanation for charging a $1 safe rides fee that partially stated, “The Safe Rides Fee supports continued efforts to ensure the safest possible platform for Uber riders and driver.”
     The information was posted until March 2015, the complaint said.
     In his decision, Judge Tigar found the commission has jurisdiction over all the transportation compliance issues Rosen presented and writes, “granting any relief on these claims would interfere with a broad and continuing supervisory or regulatory program.”
     “By asking the Court to decide whether Uber has failed to follow CPUC regulations, [Rosen] therefore asks the court to hinder or interfere with a broad and continuing CPUC program.”
     In October 2010, the commission issued Uber a cease and desist order for its operation and advertising as a charter-party carrier.
     It later suspended the order and agreed to evaluate all Uber-like services until it reached a decision to allow the ride service to operate as a “transportation network company.” That decision came in September 2013, with the caveat that it would only remain apply so long as Uber complied with all state regulations.
     As for Rosen’s claim that Uber’s operating activities directly interfered with his profitability, Judge Tigar found the taxicab driver had not proven that his “property” was taken by the ride service’s drivers.
     “Plaintiff’s argument relies on the assumption that all potential customers would either use Uber’s services or a taxicab and therefore that taxicabs would obtain additional profits ‘but for’ Uber’s fraudulent statements inducing customers to use its services instead,” the ruling says. “In truth, customers obviously have numerous other alternatives to both Uber and taxicabs, such as another similar service like Lyft, public transportation, or not using any kind of transportation service at all.”
     Tigar said Rosen can amend his intentional interference and negligent interference claims within 14 days if they rely on Uber’s safe ride fees rather than any state law-based claims.

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