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Olivares v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 14, 2017

LUIS OLIVARES, an individual, on behalf of himself and all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JORGE L. ALONSO United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Luis Olivares, filed a five-count amended complaint against Uber Technologies, Inc. for violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (“IWPCA”) (Count I), Illinois Minimum Wage Law (“IMWL”) (Count II), and Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) (Counts III-V). Plaintiff brings the IWPCA and IMWL claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 on behalf of himself and an Illinois class, defined as all individuals who are or previously employed by Uber in Illinois and who were classified as independent contractors at any time during the five-year period prior to the filing of the complaint. Plaintiff brings the FLSA claims on behalf of himself and a collective class, defined as all individuals who worked for Uber nationwide, except in California and Massachusetts, and who were classified as independent contractors at any time during the three-year period prior to the filing of the complaint. Before the Court is defendant's motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the case [13] pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Uber is a corporation that provides a smartphone application (“app”) that enables users to arrange and schedule transportation services with third-party providers. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff has been an Uber driver since May 2015, and Uber calls him an independent contractor. (Id. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff contends that he and all other drivers are not independent contractors and should be classified as non-exempt hourly employees. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 15.) Plaintiff asserts that defendant violated both federal and state laws by not providing drivers with salaries that meet minimum wage requirements or overtime pay. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 29.)

         Plaintiff voluntarily entered into a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement with Rasier, LLC, [1] Uber's wholly-owned subsidiary. (Def.'s Mem. at 1.) At the time plaintiff signed up to use the Uber app to generate leads for potential riders, the applicable agreement was the November 10, 2014 Rasier Software License & Online Services Agreement (“November 2014 Agreement”). (Id. at 3.) In December 2015, Uber introduced a revised agreement (“December 2015 Agreement”). (Id. at 4.) The December 2015 Agreement introduced the following Arbitration Provision, delegation provision, and opt-out provision:

Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision is intended to apply to the resolution of disputes that otherwise would be resolved in a court of law or before a forum other than arbitration, with the exception of proceedings that must be exhausted under applicable law before pursuing a claim in a court of law or in any forum other than arbitration. Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision requires all such disputes to be resolved only by an arbitrator through final and binding arbitration on an individual basis only and not by way of court or jury trial, or by way of class, collective, or representative action.

Except as provided in Section 15.3(v), below, regarding the Class Action Waiver, such disputes include without limitation disputes arising out of or relating to interpretation or application of this Arbitration Provision, including the enforceability, revocability or validity of the Arbitration Provision or any portion of the Arbitration Provision. All such matters shall be decided by an Arbitrator and not by a court or judge. However, as set forth below, the preceding sentences shall not apply to disputes relating to the interpretation or application of the Class Action Waiver or PAGA Waiver below, including their enforceability, revocability or validity. . . . [T]his Arbitration Provision also applies, without limitation, to all disputes between You and the Company . . . including but not limited to any disputes arising out of or related to this Agreement and disputes arising out of or related to your relationship with the Company, including termination of the relationship.

(Def.'s Mem. Ex. E § 15.3(i).)

Arbitration is not a mandatory condition of your contractual relationship with the Company. If you do not want to be subject to this Arbitration Provision, you may opt out of this Arbitration Provision by notifying the Company in writing of your desire to opt out of this Arbitration Provision, either by (1) sending, within 30 days of the date this Agreement is executed by you, electronic mail to optout@uber.com, stating your name and intent to opt out of the Arbitration Provision or (2) by sending a letter by U.S. Mail, or by any nationally recognized delivery service (e.g., UPS, Federal Express, etc.), or by hand delivery to: [Rasier's legal department] . . . Should you not opt out of this Arbitration Provision within the 30-day period, you and the Company shall be bound by the terms of this Arbitration Provision.

(Id. at § 15.3(viii).)

         Finally, the December 2015 Agreement included the following class action waiver:

You and the Company agree to resolve any dispute that is in arbitration on an individual basis only, and not on a class, collective action, or representative basis (“Class Action Waiver”). The Arbitrator shall have no authority to consider or resolve any claim or issue any relief on any basis other than an individual basis. . . . [D]isputes regarding the enforceability, revocability or validity of the Class Action Waiver may be resolved only by a civil court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator.

(Id. § 15.3(v).)

         Plaintiff voluntarily entered into the November 2014 and December 2015 Agreements and did not opt out of the Arbitration ...


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