Ninth Circuit Affirms the Dismissal of Lawsuit Challenging Seattle Ordinance Permitting Collective Bargaining by Uber and Lyft Drivers

On August 9, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Clark et al. v. City of Seattle et al., one of two lawsuits challenging a Seattle ordinance that establishes a process for independent contractor drivers who contract with for-hire and taxicab transportation companies, including companies like Uber and Lyft, to collectively organize and negotiate with the transportation company over the terms and conditions of their contractual relationships.

The City adopted the ordinance in January 2016.  This lawsuit was filed in March 2017, asserting that Seattle’s ordinance is preempted by federal labor law, violates the First Amendment, and requires disclosures in violation of the federal Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims as unripe because no entity has yet been designated under the ordinance to represent any drivers and plaintiffs had failed to allege that any conduct prohibited by federal labor laws had occurred.  A separate case challenging the ordinance brought by the United States Chamber of Commerce remains pending.

Altshuler Berzon LLP, together with the Seattle City Attorney’s office, represents the City of Seattle in the litigation.  Altshuler Berzon partner P. Casey Pitts argued the case before the Ninth Circuit.

You can read the Ninth Circuit’s decision here.