Uber tells its side of the story in mass arbitration fight with 12,500 drivers
(Reuters) - Someday, legal historians may look back at litigation between Uber and thousands of Uber drivers who have demanded the company arbitrate their wage-and-hour claims as an inflection point in employment law. Uber told its side of the story this week in a filing before U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco that accuses the drivers of “deliberately manufacturing” a dispute over arbitration fees. Some of Uber’s arguments, as I’ll explain, are tied to the specific facts of the case and the actions of the plaintiffs’ firm orchestrating the mass arbitration strategy, Keller Lenkner. Others are more broadly applicable for any company facing a mass arbitration onslaught. If nothing else, Uber’s filing proves that developing a new paradigm for workers’ claims is not going to be easy. After Uber defeated a class action and prevailed in compelling most of its drivers to arbitration, Keller Lenkner sensed an opportunity to test the idea of mass arbitration. The company raised doubts about Keller Lenkner’s recruitment of clients, citing a Boston federal court complaint in which one Uber driver accused the firm of baiting drivers to sign up with an ad that said they might be entitled to a share of a $20 million Federal Trade Commission fund.