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McIntosh v. Uber Technologies Inc.

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

January 24, 2018

ROLAND MCINTOSH, Plaintiff,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L. ELLIS United States District Judge.

         After Defendant Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) terminated its relationship with Plaintiff Roland McIntosh, McIntosh filed this suit against Uber, alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. Uber has moved to compel arbitration and dismiss the action. Because the parties agreed to an arbitration provision that delegates questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator, the Court compels arbitration and stays this case pending the outcome of arbitration.

         BACKGROUND

         Uber provides a smartphone application (the “Uber app”) that connects riders looking for transportation services with drivers. McIntosh signed up as an Uber driver in December 2015. In order to use the Uber app to obtain leads for potential riders, McIntosh had to enter into an agreement with Rasier, LLC (“Rasier”), an Uber-owned subsidiary. Specifically, when he opened the Uber app for the first time, McIntosh saw a screen with a link to the agreement and had to accept the agreement's terms in order to actively use the Uber app. McIntosh could review the agreement by clicking on a hyperlink on the screen and, after clicking the “YES, I AGREE” button, he was prompted to confirm his acceptance a second time. Rasier placed the agreement in McIntosh's personal driver portal.

         McIntosh activated his Uber account on December 4, 2015. At that time, the applicable agreement was the November 10, 2014 Rasier Software License & Online Services Agreement (the “November 2014 Agreement”). McIntosh accepted the November 2014 Agreement on December 5, 2015. Approximately a week later, Uber introduced a revised agreement, the December 11, 2015 Technology Services Agreement (the “December 2015 Agreement”), which McIntosh had to accept in order to further use the Uber app. McIntosh received an email notifying him of the new agreement and the arbitration provision contained therein. Uber's records indicate that McIntosh accepted the December 2015 Agreement on December 11, 2015, using the same process described above, although McIntosh states that he does not recall either agreement.

         The December 2015 Agreement includes the following arbitration provision, in relevant part:

This Arbitration Provision is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. (the “FAA”) and evidences a transaction involving interstate commerce. This Arbitration Provision applies to any dispute arising out of or related to this Agreement or termination of the Agreement and survives after the Agreement terminates. . . .
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 any 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. . . .
Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision also applies, without limitation, to all disputes between You and . . . Uber . . . 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 [Uber], including termination of the relationship. This Arbitration Provision also applies, without limitation, to claims arising under the . . . Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, . . . and state statutes, if any, addressing the same or similar subject matters, and all other similar federal and state statutory and common law claims.

Doc. 18-1 at 52, December 2015 Agreement § 15.3(i). McIntosh had the right to opt out of the arbitration provision:

Your Right To Opt Out Of Arbitration.
Arbitration is not a mandatory condition of your contractual relationship with [Uber]. If you do not want to be subject to this Arbitration Provision, you may opt out of this Arbitration Provision by notifying [Uber] in writing of your desire to opt out of this Arbitration Provision . . . .
. . . Should you not opt out of this Arbitration Provision within the 30-day period, you and [Uber] shall be bound by the terms of this Arbitration Provision. You have the right to consult with counsel of your choice concerning this Arbitration Provision. You understand that you will not be subject to retaliation if you exercise your ...

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