The big question for every ride-share driver's lawyer (of employee versus independent contractor) may not be any closer to getting answered by the federal court as the big driver class action case covering the issue has finally settled.
Due to the way the case unfolded, this settlement only includes a small fraction of Uber's drivers. Namely, the ones that are not subject to Uber's arbitration agreement. It might seem like a drop in the bucket for Uber, but the recently announced $20 million driver settlement has the potential to be a big hit for the company.
Due to the fact that countless excluded drivers likely have similar, if not identical claims to those of the class members, Uber may soon find itself facing arbitration, en masse, from current and former drivers, which could seriously eat into Uber's litigation funds.
A recent Reuters report explained that thousands of arbitration demands, sent after the Ninth Circuit's huge ruling kicking arbitration-bound drivers out of the class action, are still outstanding. And Uber has moved rather slow in putting up the funds to actually arbitrate the cases, as is required by the company's own contract. This has led to a new filing to compel Uber to arbitrate.
No Uber but for Arbitration
Unfortunately for Uber, the legal tech industry has not spawned a "it's like Uber, but for arbitration" yet. Additionally, the company's arbitration clause appears to call for arbitration under JAMS, which as any attorney who has ever gone through arbitration using JAMS or AAA can tell you, it's not necessarily that much cheaper than litigation, and en masse, likely could easily dwarf class action litigation costs.