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Price v. UBER Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 1, 2017

CLINTON PRICE, Ogbonna Anih, Plaintiffs,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., RASIER, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION

          Mark J. Dinsmore United States Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Compel Putative Opt-In Plaintiff Ogbonna Anih to Arbitration and Dismiss Him From This Action. [Dkt. 35.] The Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' Motion. For the reasons set forth below, this action is stayed as to Plaintiff Anih's claims only, pending arbitration.[1]

         I. Background Facts

         Opt-in Plaintiff, Ogbonna Anih, is an Indiana resident who worked as an Uber driver. At the heart of this case is Plaintiffs' contention that Uber misclassifies its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees resulting in the violation of wage payment laws. Plaintiff Price brought this FLSA action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated persons working as drivers in this district for Defendant Uber Technologies, Inc.

         Uber Technologies is a technology company that offers a smartphone application to connect riders looking for transportation to drivers. Defendant Rasier LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber Technologies (Defendants hereinafter collectively referred to as “Uber”). Customers use their smartphones to request rides through the Uber app. The request is routed to the locally-available Uber drivers, who use their own vehicles to pick-up and transport customers. The customer pays through the Uber app and the driver is paid directly by Uber for a portion of the fare collected from the customer.

         Prior to using Uber's software to generate leads for riders, potential drivers must enter into the Technology Services Agreement (the “Agreement”).[2] To enter the Agreement, Anih had to sign into the Uber app and click the appropriate hyperlink. The Agreement is then presented on the screen and can be reviewed in its entirety by scrolling. There is no time limitation to review the Agreement. To advance past the “Agreement” screen, the driver must first click “YES, I AGREE” and then click “CONFIRM.” After confirming his acceptance of the Agreement, it is automatically transmitted to Plaintiff's personal Driver Portal, where he could review it or print it at any time.

         The Agreement contains an Arbitration Provision, which provides, in relevant part:

Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision is intended to apply to the resolution of disputes that otherwise would be resolved in a court of law or before any forum other than arbitration, with the exception of proceedings that must be exhausted under applicable law before pursuing a claim in a court of law or in any forum other than arbitration. Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision requires all such disputes to be resolved only by an arbitrator through final and binding arbitration on an individual basis only and not by way of court or jury trial, or by way of class, collective, or representative action.
Except as provided in Section 15.3(v) below, regarding the Class Action Waiver, such disputes include without limitation disputes arising out of or relating to interpretation or application of this Arbitration Provision, including the enforceability, revocability or validity of the Arbitration Provision or any portion of the Arbitration Provision. All such matters shall be decided by an Arbitrator and not by a court or judge.

[Dkt. 27-1 at 18 (emphasis in original).][3]

         Once a driver accepts the Agreement, he may still opt out of the Arbitration Provision. The Agreement provides:

Arbitration is not a mandatory condition of your contractual relationship with the Company. If you do not want to be subject to this Arbitration Provision, you may opt out of this Arbitration Provision by notifying the Company in writing of your desire to opt out of this Arbitration Provision, either by (1) sending, within 30 days of the date this Agreement is executed by you, electronic mail to optout@uber.com, stating your name and intent to opt out of the Arbitration Provision or (2) by sending a letter by U.S. Mail, or by any nationally recognized delivery service (e.g. UPS, Federal Express, etc.) or by hand delivery . . .

[Dkt. 27-1 at 22.]

         Anih did not opt out of the Arbitration Provision. Uber now moves to compel the ...


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