Attorney Representing Uber Plaintiff Moves for Multidistrict Litigation
A New York Plaintiff’s attorney in a recent Uber case requested multidistrict litigation or coordination between dozens of cases across the states. Among the cases is a class action lawsuit in California that’s gaining all the attention and challenging the current definition of independent contractors.
In a majority of these lawsuits, employees of Uber Technologies Inc. claim they are owed unpaid wages, tips, and other reimbursement for gas and expenses due to misclassification. Uber is a San Francisco-based company that offers transportation via mobile app to connect drivers to customers.
Hunter Shkolnik of Napoli Shkolnik is the New York Plaintiff’s attorney who moved to combine all cases under one judge and consolidate multidistrict litigation efforts for pretrial purposes. This could halt the proceedings in each individual case in which Uber intends to dismiss litigation attempts by stating that the drivers signed arbitration agreements. Shkolnik has filed almost half the suits on behalf of Uber employees and moved for multidistrict litigation on December 1, 2015. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to attend to this matter on January 28, 2016 in a hearing at Fort Myers, Florida.
Shkolnik’s main concern post-litigation is assuring that all Uber employees enjoy the same protections that are to be decided in a ruling for one of the largest cases against the company in California this June. Shkolnik also mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised if more cases are filed in every state Uber is operating. “We’re just getting contacted by drivers like crazy… There are a lot of very upset drivers,” reported Shkolnik.
Shannon Liss-Riordan of Lichten & Liss-Riordan and Boston attorney for the California action filed on December 16, 2015 to oppose the multidistrict coordination of cases, which is scheduled for June 20, 2016. Liss-Riordan stated, “After devoting countless hours and hundreds of pages of legal opinions to this case, it would be a grave mistake to transfer this case to another court at this late hour.” In addition, Uber also mentioned that the California case was, “far too procedurally advanced to be consolidated or coordinated.”
In response to Shkolnik’s motion, Uber spokeswoman Jessica Santillo did not comment but cited a December 29, 2015 motion before the Multidistrict Litigation panel that opposed the consolidation of state cases since, “the tests for determining contractor status vary by state, with critical distinctions.” Whether the cases will be consolidated is to be negotiated at the end of January.
As a result of the move toward multidistrict litigation, Liss-Riordan filed a new case with the San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of any Uber drivers who may have been left out of the class action lawsuit on January 4, 2016
Are you or someone you know owed wages due to employee misclassification?
Then, you need an aggressive advocate for your employee rights. An experienced employment law attorney at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., can handle your case. Give us a call today.