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From: David Andrews via Nfbnet-master-list <nfbnet-master-list@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: August 1, 2016 at 4:40:46 PM EDT
Subject: [Nfbnet-master-list] Uber Class Notice
Reply-To: David Andrews <dandrews@xxxxxxxx>
NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
ATTENTION: ALL BLIND OR VISUALLY DISABLED INDIVIDUALS WHO USE SERVICE ANIMALS
WHEN TRAVELING AND WHO HAVE USED, ATTEMPTED TO USE, OR HAVE BEEN DETERRED
FROM USING TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ARRANGED THROUGH THE UBER RIDER APP.
THE SETTLEMENT DESCRIBED BELOW MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS.
READ THIS NOTICE AND INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.
This notice is to inform you about the proposed settlement that would resolve
the class action lawsuit National Federation of the Blind of California, et
al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.). The
lawsuit alleges that Uber Technologies, Inc. and its subsidiary and affiliate
entities (collectively, “Uber”), violated the Americans with Disabilities
Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., by failing to take the necessary steps to
ensure that transportation providers using the Uber mobile software
application (“Drivers”) do not discriminate against blind or visually
disabled riders who travel with service animals (“Riders”). Uber denies all
liability in the case and asserts that its current practices do not violate
applicable federal, state, and local law. The settlement, which must be
approved by the Court, would resolve the lawsuit.
I. Summary of the Proposed Settlement
Under the settlement, Uber agrees to take additional steps to inform Drivers
of their obligations to transport all Riders. Uber will require that new and
existing Drivers expressly confirm that they understand and agree to these
obligations, through a pop-up interactive questionnaire in the Driver mobile
software application and changes to the technology services agreement. In
addition, Uber will send quarterly email reminders to Drivers.
Uber will also adopt a new enforcement practice. If, following a complaint
from a Rider, Uber determines that a driver knowingly refused to transport a
Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will
terminate that Driver’s contract and permanently remove the Driver from the
Driver platform. In addition, if Uber receives plausible complaints on more
than one occasion that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider
was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate the Driver’s
contract and the Driver will be permanently removed from the Driver platform.
This second basis for contract termination will apply where Uber was unable
to determine whether the first denial was a knowing violation.
Under the settlement, Uber will also enhance its response system for
complaints that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was
traveling with a service animal, and will provide greater transparency to
Riders regarding what action has been taken in response to a complaint about
a Driver. Uber will also limit the circumstances in which a Rider can be
charged for cleaning issues related to his or her service animal.
Additionally, Uber will record each allegation that a Driver is alleged to
have denied service to a Rider, or otherwise discriminated against a Rider,
because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will report
aggregated data to Class Counsel. The National Federation of the Blind and
its California affiliate will administer a testing program, through which
blind individuals request and take trips to evaluate the effectiveness of the
settlement. A third-party individual will monitor Uber’s compliance with the
settlement as well.
The settlement also provides that the three named individual plaintiffs who
served as class representatives will receive payments of $15,000 each in
return for their release of their individual damage claims. In addition, the
National Federation of the Blind will receive three annual payments of
$75,000 during the term of the settlement, and a fourth payment of $75,000 if
the term of the settlement is extended. These payments are intended to
support the Federation’s testing program.
Finally, Disability Rights Advocates, Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, and
TRE Legal Practice (collectively, “Class Counsel”), the attorneys who
represent the class, will have the right to seek attorneys’ fees and costs
for their work on the case. Class Counsel will file a motion asking the
Court to award reasonable fees and costs for work on the merits phase of this
case. The Court must approve the amount awarded even if the parties reach
an agreement on the amount. This motion for fees and costs will be available
on www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com on September 21, 2016. Class Counsel
will also be entitled to seek reasonable fees and costs for their future work
monitoring compliance with the settlement and enforcing the agreement. Uber
retains the right to contest the amount of any attorneys’ fees requested by
II. who is in the class?
All blind or visually disabled individuals nationwide who travel with the
assistance of service animals and who have used, attempted to use, or been
deterred from attempting to use transportation arranged through the Uber
III. The Effect of the Settlement on the Rights of Class Members
All class members will be bound by the terms of the settlement relating to
access to transportation services arranged using the Uber app for blind or
visually disabled persons who use service animals, if the settlement
agreement is approved by the Court. If the settlement is approved, all class
members will release and forever discharge all claims for injunctive relief
under all federal, state, and local laws related to alleged discrimination by
Uber against blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals that
arose before the Settlement Agreement becomes effective. Class members, other
than the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, are not releasing any claims for
IV. Objecting to the Settlement
You can ask the Court to deny approval of this settlement by filing an
objection with the Court. You cannot ask the Court to order a different
settlement; the Court can only approve or deny this proposed settlement. If
the Court denies approval, any settlement changes necessary for approval may
not be made, and the lawsuit may continue. If this is what you want to
happen, you must object.
If you wish to object to the proposed settlement you must object to the
proposed settlement in writing. You may also appear at the fairness hearing
for final approval of the settlement, either in person or through your own
attorney. But if you wish to appear and present your objection orally at the
fairness hearing, you must first submit a written objection and in your
written objection you must indicate your intention to appear and be heard at
the fairness hearing. If you appear through your own attorney, you are
responsible for paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting
papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number, National
Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et
al., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.), (b) be submitted to the Court either
by mailing them to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room
2112, San Jose, CA 95113, or by filing them in person at any location of the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and (c)
be received on or before October 13, 2016.
V. FURTHER INFORMATION
This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. For the precise
terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the settlement agreement
available at www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com, contact Class Counsel
using the information below, access the Court docket in this case through the
Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at
https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court
for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California,
280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, between 9:00 a.m. and
4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.
To obtain a copy of this notice in alternate accessible formats,
contact Class Counsel using the information below.
VI. CONTACT INFORMATION
Please do not contact the Court, the Court clerk’s office, or
Defense Counsel with questions about this settlement. Any questions must be
directed to Class Counsel at the numbers and addresses below.
Disability Rights Advocates
2001 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
Timothy Elder, Esq.
TRE Legal Practice
4226 Castanos Street
Fremont, California 94536
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-2235
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