NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Uber customer on Friday asked a Manhattan federal judge to revoke a victory in arbitration for the company in a price fixing case, arguing that the referee only decided in favor of Uber because he was afraid.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Uber logo is displayed on a cell phone in this illustration taken on November 25, 2019. REUTERS / Hannah McKay / Illustration
Spencer Meyer started the high-profile antitrust lawsuit in 2015, claiming that Uber Technologies Inc engaged in an illegal conspiracy with its drivers to coordinate high "price increase" rates during periods of strong demand, agreeing to charge prices set by a Uber algorithm; greeting application.
Uber cuts driver earnings and hitchhiking trips in North America make up the bulk of the company's revenue. The lawsuit sought a nationwide ban against rising prices.
Uber argues that its drivers are independent contractors and that its app is just a technological platform that connects drivers with motorcyclists. On Friday, Uber declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The company said earlier that it believed the law was on its side, pointing to the fact that no antitrust agency raised questions.
The lawsuit passed through several courts before being sent to arbitration in 2019, according to Uber's terms of service that mandate closed-door arbitration for most cases.
The appointed arbitrator, lawyer Les Weinstein, on February 22, ruled in favor of Uber and dismissed the suit, but according to Friday's records, he did so for "evident bias".
An excerpt from the arbitration transcript, attached to the document, quoted him as saying: “I must say that I act out of fear. My fear is that if I considered Uber to be illegal, I would need security. I wouldn't be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.
Weinstein also questioned whether he had the legal power to ban rising prices across the country. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Uber has a week to respond to the lawsuit.
Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Edition by Aurora Ellis