In a major ruling this week, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen significantly expanded the number of drivers who can join the major class action O’Connor v. Uber, set for a jury trial in June 2016. The ruling, a final class action certification, can be read in its entirety here.
Notably, Judge Chen expanded the class to include drivers who had joined Uber after June 2014 and signed more recent arbitration agreements with class action waivers. He also certified the class to pursue claims for not only tips but also vehicle-related and phone expenses. Judge Chen excluded from the final class drivers who drove for Uber through a third-party company (such as a limousine service) and those who used corporate names. According to Forbes, the potential class will now increase dramatically to a much larger fraction of the estimated 160,000 Uber drivers in California. They also note that Uber will appeal immediately.
In his previous class action certification in September, Judge Chen excluded from the class drivers who joined Uber after June 2014 and had not opted out of an arbitration clause, and he also did not certify claims relating to non-tip expenses incurred by drivers. Judge Chen had also previously held the arbitration clause used by Uber before June 2014 procedurally and substantively unconscionable under California law. Now, Judge Chen has removed both of those limitations and held all of Uber’s arbitration clauses unconscionable.