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Uber owes $18 million in arbitration fees

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Between August and November of this year, about 12,500 drivers, many of whom had been class members in cases in which Uber successfully moved to compel arbitration, served individual arbitration demands on Uber.

Of the 12,500 arbitration demands filed by Uber drivers, the company has paid the requisite JAMS initial filing fee in just 296 cases ... and Uber has paid the arbitrator’s nonrefundable $1,500 retainer fee in a mere six cases.

“At this point, it is fair to ask whether Uber’s previous statements to the 9th Circuit about its desire to facilitate arbitration with its drivers were nothing more than empty promises to avoid litigating a class action,” the drivers’ lawyers said in a motion to compel arbitration that accompanied the drivers’ petition for an order to compel. “Uber’s actions make clear it does not actually support arbitration; rather, it supports avoiding any method of dispute resolution, no matter the venue.”

The cost of arbitration is turning out to be real leverage for plaintiffs' lawyers who are smart enough to adapt to the privatization of litigation. It may not be long before companies like Uber start wishing for the good old days of class actions.

Reuters: Forced into arbitration, 12,500 drivers claim Uber won’t pay fees to launch cases


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