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United States District Court for the District of Columbia
March 15, 2021, Decided; March 15, 2021, Filed
No. 17-cv-1272 (KBJ)
[*65] MEMORANDUM OPINION
] Providers of public transportation services have long been subject to federal and state regulation with respect to the provision of accommodations for people with physical disabilities. See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 12184; D.C. Code §§ 2-1402.31(a)(1), 2-1401.02(24). In the instant action, plaintiff Equal Rights Center ("ERC") alleges that [*66] defendant Uber—a company that maintains a ride-sharing application ("app") that connects users to drivers—systematically discriminates against those disabled individuals [**2] in the District of Columbia who use non-foldable wheelchairs, because Uber's wheelchair accessible ride-share services are allegedly far less reliable and predictable than its non-wheelchair accessible offerings. (See Am. Compl., ECF No. 22, ¶¶ 2-12.) ERC also alleges that Uber requires wheelchair users to pay higher fares and endure longer wait times than people who use Uber's standard transportation service. (See id. ¶¶ 79-96.) In the two-count complaint that ERC has filed against Uber in the instant case, ERC claims that Uber qualifies as a public transportation service for the purpose of federal and local law, and, therefore, that the identified disparities amount to unlawful discrimination under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq., and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act ("DCHRA"), D.C. Code § 2-1401.01 et seq. (See id. ¶¶ 117-42.)
Before this Court at present is Uber's motion to dismiss ERC's claims pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 1st Am. Compl. ("Defs.' Mot."), ECF No. 25; Mem. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 1st Am. Compl. ("Defs.' Mem."), ECF No. 25-1.) As a threshold jurisdictional issue, Uber argues that ERC lacks Article III standing to sue, either on its [**3] own behalf or on behalf of its members. (See Defs.' Mem. at 18-28.)1 Uber maintains further that ERC has not plausibly alleged that the ADA and DCHRA apply to its app, and that even if those statutes do apply, Uber's services do not constitute discrimination and cannot be reasonably modified. (See id. at 28-45.) Uber also asserts that the DCHRA claim is barred by that statute's one-year limitations period. (See id. at 46.)
Ever mindful of the fact that all that is required at this early stage of the litigation is for ERC to make plausible claims of liability, this Court must reject Uber's dismissal arguments, for the reasons explained fully below. As a threshold matter, the Court finds that ERC has associational standing to bring the complaint's ADA and DCHRA discrimination claims on behalf of its members. The Court also concludes that the complaint contains plausible allegations concerning Uber's eligibility for regulation under section 12184 of Title III of the ADA and the DCHRA; that ERC has alleged circumstances that plausibly sustain discrimination claims under the cited statutes; and that ERC's DCHRA claim is timely. Therefore, Uber's motion to dismiss ERC's complaint will be DENIED. A separate Order consistent [**4] with this Memorandum Opinion will follow.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
525 F. Supp. 3d 62 *; 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47935 **; 2021 WL 981011
EQUAL RIGHTS CENTER, Plaintiff, v. UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., et al., Defendants.
Prior History: Equal Rights Ctr. v. Uber Techs., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234269 (D.D.C., July 17, 2017)
wheelchair, drivers, allegations, transportation, users, TAXI, rides, public transportation, entity, motion to dismiss, enjoyment, place of public accommodation, Notice, disability, asserts, policies, qualify, injury in fact, discriminatory, downloaded, quotation, redress, argues, fleet, marks, declaration, non-folding, regulation, practices, deterred
Transportation Law, Public Transportation, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Third Party Standing, Justiciability, Personal Stake, Elements, Burdens of Proof, Injury in Fact, Particular Parties, Constitutionality of Legislation, Standing, Business & Corporate Compliance, Protection of Disabled Persons, Americans With Disabilities Act, Enforcement Actions, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Public Facilities, Scope, Preliminary Considerations, Labor & Employment Law, Disparate Treatment, Employment Practices, Adverse Employment Actions, Judgments, Entry of Judgments, Compelling Specific Acts, Commerce Clause, Interstate Commerce, Prohibition of Commerce, Legislative Intent, Accommodations, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Industries, Transportation, Railroads, Education Law, Disability Discrimination, Remedies, Procedural Matters, Continuing Violations, Discrimination, Statute of Limitations, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations