Previously, we wrote about Berwick v. Uber and Cotter v. Lyft (available here), two recent cases involving tech giants Uber and Lyft, on the question of whether their drivers should be considered employees or independent contractors under California law. Depending on the outcome of the cases, Uber and Lyft will likely face a litany of similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions, which many say could significantly affect the ride-sharing companies’ business models.
As it turns out, labor and employment issues are not the only legal issues that Uber has to deal with. Uber has also been defending a lawsuit in Connecticut filed by a group of cab companies trying to stop it from doing business in the state on various grounds, including unfair and deceptive trade practices, intentional interference with contractual relationships, and racketeering, to name just a few. On August 13, 2015, however, the district court granted Uber’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, rejecting the cab companies’ argument that Uber competed unfairly, tried to lure away their drivers, or misrepresented its services, fares, and drivers’ insurance coverage to passengers. The dismissal is a significant win for Uber, and for many similarly situated companies trying to get into a regulated market, which often face legal challenges by incumbents who feel threatened by disruptive technologies that promise to offer better services to consumers.
The case is Greenwich Taxi, Inc. v. Uber Tech., Inc., No. 14cv733, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
This posting is intended to be a planning tool to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
Steps have been taken to verify the contents of this article prior to publication. However, readers should not, and may not, rely on this article. Please consult with counsel to verify all contents and do not rely solely on this article in planning your legal transactions.
About the Author
Shawn McBride – R. Shawn McBride is the Managing Member of The R. Shawn McBride Law Office, P.L.L.C. which helps clients in legal issues related to starting companies, joint ventures, raising capital from and negotiating with investors and outside General Counsel functions. Shawn can be contacted at: (214) 418-0258; firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.mcbrideattorneys.com.
 See generally Berwick v. Uber Tech., Inc., CGC-15-546378 (State Case No. 11-46739 EK) (Sup. Ct. Cal., June 3, 2015) (proceeding before the Labor Comm’r of the State of Cal.).
 See generally Cotter v. Lyft, 13-cv-04065-VC (N.D. Cal. Mar. 11, 2015).