The Uber driver behind the lawsuit that threatened Uber’s business model is now objecting to settling the case.
In April, Uber announced that it had reached a $100 million settlement agreement in a court case that had gone on for three years. Douglas O’Connor filed suit against the company in 2011, claiming that Uber had misclassified its drivers as independent contractors and that they should be employees.
The culmination of the case was announced in April with a $100 million settlement for drivers in California and Massachusetts.
However, in a court filing on Monday, O’Connor is now objecting to the settlement that bears his name, saying it shortchanges drivers of billions.
“I am compelled to submit this declaration objecting to the class action settlement on behalf of myself and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of other Uber Drivers in the State of California — and throughout the Country — who were at first given hope and a voice by the lawsuit bearing my name but now feel utterly betrayed and sold-out by an unjust settlement result that only benefits Uber,” O’Connor said.
In his objection, O’Connor claims that he never saw a copy of the settlement before Uber announced it in April. After it was announced, he claims he was pressured into quickly signing the 100-page document.
After reviewing the settlement, O’Connor doesn’t believe the agreement is in the best interest of the Uber drivers.
“Having now had the full opportunity to review the O’Connor settlement agreement, it is apparent that under the agreement, Uber drivers are being sold out and shortchanged by billions of dollars while sacrificing the determination of their classification as employees,” O’Connor wrote.
Uber drivers are being sold out and shortchanged by billions of dollars while sacrificing the determination of their classification as employees
He initiated the case against Uber three years ago because he felt that Uber misclassifying its drivers was “the most significant hazard to the economy and public safety,” he says. The settlement doesn’t answer that question.
“Unfortunately, the magnitude of this generational threat was given short shrift in the O’Connor class action as almost no meaningful discovery or depositions were taken, but where the average Uber driver will now receive an offensive settlement worth less than a tank of gas,” O’Connor says in the objection. “I cannot in good conscience support this disastrous settlement agreement.”
Uber declined to comment on the objection. Shannon Liss-Riordan, his former attorney, said the things O’Connor is saying “are simply not true.”
“The case was at risk of being gutted by the Ninth Circuit and we made the choice we did, in consultation with our clients. Mr. O’Connor was not a lead plaintiff, and had not been certified to represent the class, but I kept him in the loop because the case bore his name,” Liss-Riordan wrote in an email to Business Insider. “I believe the settlement was in the best interests of the class, in light of the risk we faced if having the case pulled out from under us by the Ninth Circuit. But if the court disagrees and thinks the settlement should not go forward for some reason, I would be more than happy to plow forward with it and do what I need to do.”
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