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Donnett Hickson,
Legal Staff Writer

On March 2, 2017, Uber Technologies Inc. and an Illinois woman agreed to enter mediation to start to bring to a close a two-year legal battle over Uber’s alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TPCA).

Plaintiff, Maria Vergara, originally filed suit in October 2015 on the grounds that the ride-sharing conglomerate sent her at least six text messages requesting that she confirm that she had signed up for their services. However, Vergara claims that she never even downloaded Uber’s app and accused the company of “failing to look into the accuracy of phone numbers sent to the company by customers.”

A similar suit was filed in December 2014 by four California residents who also claim that they received unlawful texts from Uber in violation of the TPCA after providing their information to be potential drivers for the ride-sharing service. Like Vergara, they allege to never have consented to receiving text messages from the company. In 2016, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs must conduct more discovery in the proposed class action before Uber’s bid for a quick win is decided. A month prior, Uber had accused the putative class of “intentionally dragging out a resolution of the case by asking the court to postpone its summary judgment decision.” U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled, “Summary judgment should not be granted while [an] opposing party timely seeks discovery of potentially favorable information.” This said information was believed to be proven specific and relevant, which directly pertained to issues central to Uber’s motion for summary judgment.

Later, Judge Tigar allowed the suit to partially survive Uber’s dismissal bid after concluding the texts were not telemarketing, but could not decide on whether the group had given their consent to receive such text messages. Hence, due to the unresolved nature of their suit, Plaintiffs Lathrop, Bartolet, Grindell and Reilly are now looking to join Vergara and Uber in their mediations. A judge has not yet signed off on this stipulation.

These cases are: Vergara v. Uber Technologies Inc., case number 1:15-cv-0694, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Lathrop et al v. Uber Technologies Inc., case number 3:14-cv-05678, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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