Judge Dismisses Suit Accusing Uber Of Misrepresenting Services, Racketeering

Uber scored a victory in one of the many legal battles it’s party to on Thursday, when a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by 15 Connecticut taxi and limousine companies that aimed to stop the ride-sharing service from operating in the state. 

The companies, which filed the lawsuit back in May 2014, accused San Francisco-based Uber of misrepresenting its services, engaging in deceptive trade practices, and racketeering. These allegations echo claims made in other lawsuits which argue that Uber operates no differently than a taxi service but without having to comply with all the state and local regulations on such services.

Uber filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that it was not operating unfairly or illegally in Connecticut.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Thompson granted [PDF] Uber’s request, saying the taxi and limousine services failed to show that Uber competed unfairly, tried to lure away drivers or misrepresented its service, fares and insurance coverage.

“The plaintiffs assert that Uber’s alleged misrepresentations concerning the legality of its services and that they otherwise have adequately pleaded other misrepresentations concerning ‘ridesharing,’ ‘driver partners,’ ‘operating legally,’ ‘insurance coverage,’ ‘safety,’ and ‘pricing’,” Thompson writes in his ruling. “However, the court concludes that the plaintiffs have not adequately pleaded that these alleged representations are false or misleading.”

The taxi companies also argued in their suit that Uber’s billing system violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

According to the dismissal, the plaintiffs based their accusations on wire fraud, asserting that Uber’s customers accessed the defendant’s fraudulent communications via its smartphone app.

“The plaintiffs have merely alleged that in making an electronic hail, the defendant’s app ‘displays the available vehicles’ that the customer ‘chooses the type of car they want,’ and the app ‘displays the driver’s name and photograph on the user’s smart phone’,” the dismissal says. “These allegations do not support an inference that any misrepresentation claimed by the plaintiffs was communicated to customers via Uber’s smart phone app.”

Despite dismissing the lawsuit, Thompson granted the taxi and limousine services’ request to amend the lawsuit. The groups have 30 days to do so.

This isn’t the first time Uber has battled the Connecticut taxi and limousine industry. The Hartford Courant reports that the state legislature considered regulating the ride-sharing service.

While Uber reportedly backed the bill, it hired lobbyists to represent its interest against traditional taxi services. The regulations were not approved before the end of the state’s legislative session in June.

[via Hartford Courant]