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Cunningham v. Lyft, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

March 27, 2020, Decided; March 27, 2020, Filed

Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-11974-IT

Opinion

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

TALWANI, D.J.

Plaintiffs Melody Cunningham and Frunwi Mancho bring claims, on their own behalf and on behalf of drivers who have worked in Massachusetts for Defendant Lyft, Inc. (Lyft), based on Lyfts' [*2]  alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors.1 Defendants have filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings Pending Arbitration [#16], pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-4, seeking an order compelling Plaintiffs submit any claims they are asserting here to individual, non-class arbitration and staying all further proceedings pending arbitration. Defs' Mot. to Compel Arbitration [#16]. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings Pending Arbitration [#16] is DENIED.

I. Background

Lyft is a ridesharing company that uses a smartphone application ("Lyft App" or "App") to allow customers to hail drivers. Ayanbule Decl. ¶ 2 [#18]. To become a Lyft driver, an individual must register, download the App, and agree to Lyft's Terms of Service ("Terms"). Id. ¶ 3.

Lyft updated its Terms on February 6, 2018. Id. ¶ 7. All drivers who opened the App on that day or subsequent days were presented with the following screen:

Id. Drivers could not continue to drive for Lyft until they clicked the "I accept" button. Id. ¶ 8.

In Lyft's Terms, the agreement states, in relevant part:

PLEASE BE ADVISED: THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS PROVISIONS [*3]  THAT GOVERN HOW CLAIMS YOU AND LYFT HAVE AGAINST EACH OTHER CAN BE BROUGHT. . . THESE PROVISIONS WILL, WITH LIMITED EXCEPTION, REQUIRE YOU TO SUBMIT CLAIMS YOU HAVE AGAINST LYFT TO BINDING AND FINAL ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER . . . AS A DRIVER OR DRIVER APPLICANT, YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO OPT OUT OF ARBITRATION WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN CLAIMS. . .

Ex. A at 1 (Ayanbule Decl.) [#18-1].

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53653 *

MELODY CUNNINGHAM and FRUNWI MANCHO, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. LYFT, INC., LOGAN GREEN, and JOHN ZIMMER, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Appeal terminated, 03/31/2020

Appeal filed, 04/06/2020

Prior History: Cunningham v. Lyft, Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48037 (D. Mass., Mar. 20, 2020)

CORE TERMS

arbitration, transportation, interstate, commerce, passengers, drivers, exemption, railroad, travel, delivery, Airport, driving