Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

U.S. Judge Probes Uber over Allegations of Fraud in Antitrust Case | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55352163

An Uber car is seen parked with the driver’s lunch left on the dashboard in Venice, California, United States on July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo/Reuters

Uber is expected to hand over documents to a New York judge examining whether private investigators hired by the ride-hailing company fraudulently sought information about its opponents in an antitrust case, according to a court ruling on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge, Jed Rakoff is looking forward to determine whether Uber trained an investigator to lie in order to elicit information about Spencer Meyer, lead plaintiff in the antitrust lawsuit, and his attorney.

The suit, filed in December, claims that Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick engaged in a price-fixing scheme with Uber drivers.

For instance, an investigator hired by Uber allegedly called Meyer’s attorney’s professional colleagues and lied about compiling a profile “of up-and-coming labor lawyers in the United States,” Rakoff wrote.

However when confronted about the call, attorneys for Kalanick initially denied that the company was involved with them, according to the court documents.

Later in court filings, Kalanick’s attorneys acknowledged hiring an investigator from a company called Ergo to collect information about Meyer. Although Uber denied that it knew the investigator had lied or concealed his identity.

“An Ergo 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,” Rakoff wrote in his order.

“The Court finds that plaintiff has provided an entirely ‘reasonable basis’ to suspect the perpetration of a fraud and to suspect that Uber communications furthered such a fraud,” Rakoff wrote.

Kalanick’s attorneys earlier in the year asked the judge to dismiss the case, arguing that under the specific language of its passenger agreement, riders waive the right to bring class-actions against the company.

Rakoff denied that request in March.