Uber dealt a new setback in price-fixing lawsuit in SF

by Sean Riley

Biz Journal

San Francisco-based Uber must turn over documents that a judge said show it instructed an investigator to lie to gain information about a plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the ride-hailing service on Tuesday to hand over any documents that he said show it fraudulently sought information about Spencer Meyer, the lead plaintiff in the case, or his attorney.

The December antitrust lawsuit alleges that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was involved in price-fixing with the company's drivers. Uber had argued that the documents in question were privileged, but Roskoff rejected that assertion in his order.

The possible class-action lawsuit does not name Uber, but it does name Kalanick, which has prompted Uber to attempt to join the lawsuit. Roskoff wrote in a court filing that the documents that must now be turned over show a clear pattern of Uber investigators using false pretenses to obtain information about Meyer.

"In one instance, an investigator hired by Uber allegedly called Meyer's attorney's professional colleagues and 'falsely stated that he was compiling a profile of up-and-coming labor lawyers in the United States,' Rakoff wrote," according to Reuters.

The judge also wrote that an "investigator hired by Uber in connection with this case made false representations in order to gain access to information about plaintiff and his counsel, thus raising a serious risk of perverting the process of justice before this Court."

Uber did not return a request for comment from the Business Times.

Uber's most recent financing round valued the company at $62.5 billion.