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Update on the cab companies’ lawsuit against Uber and Lyft

Yesterday I noted the latest lawsuit against Uber, filed in San Antonio by a former Uber driver who alleged that their pay amounted to a sub-minimum wage total. Over the weekend we got an update on the lawsuit filed here last April against both Uber and Lyft by various cab companies.


The federal lawsuit in which Houston and San Antonio taxi companies accuse Uber and Lyft of a digital disruption that upended cab markets has dwindled to just a few claims.

But the case, which continues on unresolved safety inequity allegations, has forced Uber to do what other court filings across the country have not: Reveal detailed information about trips and drivers that the company previously argued were trade secrets.

The ride-sharing company, as well as the taxi firms, recently turned over 18 months of financial data, according to court filings.



The original lawsuit, filed in April 2014, claimed that the companies unfairly competed with the taxicab industry by failing to comply with local regulations and misrepresenting the nature of their services to customers.

Houston revised its rules in November 2014 to establish a process by which the new companies could operate legally despite ferocious opposition by entrenched local taxi drivers and companies. Unlike many cities, Houston’s permitting process requires fingerprint background checks and vehicle inspections for ride-sharing drivers, which exceeds Uber’s requirements. Lyft opted not to comply and exited the market that month. The company was terminated from the lawsuit in August.

This March, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gil-more dismissed all of the taxi companies’ claims except for allegations related to false advertising – namely Uber’s assertions to the public about its insurance coverage.

Now, the plaintiffs and Uber have set aside their disagreement about insurance coverage but remain in a narrow conflict about safety.

An order signed by Gilmore in late October continued the lawsuit on “Uber’s alleged representations related to safety and background checks” including to the extent that “insurance is relevant to the alleged safety representations.”


The remaining plaintiffs in the case include the companies that own Yellow Cab in Houston and San Antonio as well as Fiesta Cab Co., Houston Transportation Services, Pasadena Taxi and Enterprise Transportation.

In a joint status report, the parties said they have exchanged data about trips and income.

“Uber has produced financial information detailing monthly net revenues and expenses broken down by category and trip volume from its operations in Houston and San Antonio from February and March of 2014, respectively, through August of 2015,” the report said. The plaintiffs handed over similar data. The parties are conferring about how to understand and analyze the information.

See here and here for the background. I was pretty skeptical about this lawsuit when it was filed. Whether that was justified or not is debatable, but at this point most of the original issues have been resolved or dismissed, and this is what’s left. I suspect that the plaintiffs in other legal actions against Uber and Lyft will be interested in these proceedings when all is said and done.

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