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Scaccia v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton

June 13, 2019

JOHN J. SCACCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          Thomas M. Rose, District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS [1]

          SHARON L. OVINGTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff John J. Scaccia is a former Uber driver. His connection with Uber- Defendant Uber Technologies, Inc.-allowed him to garner leads for potential passengers via Uber's smartphone application. Defendant Raiser LLC (Raiser) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber. Defendant Jane/John Does are two of Plaintiff's former passengers who alerted Uber to alleged misconduct by Plaintiff. After Uber received the misconduct reports, it blocked Plaintiff's access to its smartphone application and potential-passenger information. This effectively terminated Plaintiff and Uber's working relationship.

         Plaintiff brings this case pro se asserting claims under Ohio law, including wrongful termination, tortious interference with business, defamation, and others. Three Motions are presently pending: Defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration and Dismiss the Action (Doc. #5); Plaintiff's Motion to Order Disclosure of Jane/John Does and/or Motion to Remand (Doc. #7); and, Plaintiff's Motion for Oral Argument and Request that, Should the Court be Inclined to Order Arbitration, the Case be Stayed and Not Dismissed (Doc. #14).

         The broad issue the parties present is whether the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq., requires arbitration of Plaintiff's claims.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges specific facts about the events that preceded his termination. It suffices, for present purposes, to note that two of Plaintiff's former passengers twice reported to Uber that he was driving while impaired. On each occasion, once Plaintiff learned of the reports, he went to a local police station where officers observed no indication that he was impaired. (Doc. #2, PageID #s 35-36). On each occasion, Plaintiff told Uber that he had not been driving while impaired, and he informed Uber about the officers' observations. Uber, at first, seems to have credited Plaintiff's assertion of sobriety because it allowed him to continue to access Uber's leads on potential passengers. But the second impaired-driving accusation against Plaintiff led Uber to block his access to leads about potential passengers. Uber took this action, thereby ending its relationship with Plaintiff, even though he repeatedly denied driving while impaired.

         The crux of the parties' present dispute concerns an arbitration provision in Defendant Raiser Technology Services Agreement (updated on December 11, 2015). (Doc. #5, PageID #s 77-97). Uber's current Senior Operations and Logistics Manager, Andrew Magana, states in his Declaration that Uber requires potential drivers to login to Uber's smartphone application (the Uber App) and “enter into … the ‘Technology Services Agreement'… with Raiser ….” Id. at PageID #68, ¶7.

         The Raiser Agreement's lengthy Arbitration Provision begins by invoking federal law: “This Arbitration Provision is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. (‘FAA') and evidences a transaction involving interstate commerce.” Id. at 93. The Arbitration Provision broadly states that it “applies to any dispute arising out of or related to this Agreement or termination of the Agreement and survives after the Agreement terminates….” Id. It continues in this vein:

Except as it otherwise provides, this Arbitration Provision also applies, without limitation, to all disputes between You and the Company [Raiser] or 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 the Company, including termination of the relationship….

Id.

         The Arbitration Provision also contains detailed opt-out language:

viii. Your Right To Opt Out of Arbitration Arbitration is not a mandatory condition of your contractual employment 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…, or by hand delivery to:
[address omitted]
In order to be effective, the letter under option (2) must clearly indicate your intent to opt out of this Arbitration Provision, and must be dated and signed. The envelope containing the signed letter must be received (if delivered by hand) or post-marked within 30 days of the date this Agreement is executed by you…. 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 97. The final paragraph of the Raiser Agreement states, “By clicking ‘I accept', you expressly acknowledge that you have read, understood, and taken thoughtful steps to consider the consequences of this Agreement, and that you agree to be by bound by the ...


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