BOSTON (Legal Newsline) – A federal magistrate judge has ruled in more than seven consolidated actions combining more than 30 lawsuits filed by dozens of cab companies against Uber.
Magistrate Nathaniel Gorton granted and denied some parts of a motion to dismiss Dec. 29 in the lawsuits between Malden Transportation and dozens of other cab companies against Uber Technologies, Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker and the commonwealth of Massachusetts for alleged unfair competition and state law violations.
The original complaints claimed Uber was not in compliance with Boston, Malden, Medford, Everett and Somerville statutes regarding unfair competition, causing the plaintiffs to suffer monetary damage.
previously reported that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said that was not the case in a dismissal brief, arguing there was no violation to a stature since Uber is controlled by the state and taxicabs are regulated by the Massachusetts cities and towns.
Furthermore, the major difference in taxi’s soliciting rides at taxi stands and driving around looking for passengers is not how Uber conducts business as a Transportation Network Company (TNC) contacted by passengers and is not subject to certain statues, which if annulled to include Uber, would require the TNC company to carry taxi medallions to operate, inevitably causing a severe shortage in the allotted number of medallions allowed over a period of time.
The litigation alleged two of Uber's founders, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, competed unlawfully in the on-demand transportation industry.
Before dismissing the complaint against the individual defendants, Gorton called the notion “inapposite,” detailing that the plaintiffs failed to find the relatedness requirement of precise personal jurisdiction.
“The court declines to address the foreseeability and reasonableness requirements,” Gorton wrote in the order. “As an alternative, plaintiffs contend that they have established specific personal jurisdiction over the individual defendants on the basis of an alter ego theory.”
Gorton detailed how Uber has never been required to follow state taxi rules, specifically citing Checker Cab Philadelphia Inc. v. Uber Techs. from 2017.
“Plaintiffs do not allege that Uber’s services were priced below Uber’s costs,” Gorton wrote in the order. “Accordingly, they have failed to ‘explain in detail’ why Uber’s conduct constituted an antitrust violation.”
The judge further noted the complaint did not allege any actual facts regarding Uber’s costs, rather repeatedly stated Uber used “below-cost pricing scheme.’”
“Plaintiffs have failed adequately to allege a claim for predatory pricing, the defendants’ motion to dismiss will, with respect to plaintiffs’ antitrust claims, be allowed,” Gorton wrote in the order.
Gorton concluded by noting the plaintiffs' claims remain pending including all “the claims of all plaintiffs for unfair competition under the common law and the claims of the Anoush plaintiffs for aiding and abetting unfair competition in violation of the common law and civil conspiracy to commit unfair competition in violation of the common law.”