Uber Moves to Compel Arbitration in Blind Rider’s Guide Dog Discrimination Case

In a motion filed late last week, Uber Technologies Inc. asked the Southern District of Florida court overseeing an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case to send the plaintiff’s claims to arbitration. According to Uber, the rider agreed to the company’s arbitration clause stating that  claims such as his arising from the use of Uber’s services, may only be brought in the para-judicial forum.

The suit dates to August when the Floridian sued Uber over its drivers’ repeated refusal to transport his service animal. According to the plaintiff, this happened on more than a dozen different instances.

The complaint says that the drivers’ discrimination is imputed to Uber for the company’s failure to properly hire, train, and instruct its workers. The lawsuit also alleges that the ride-hailing company is aware of the issue, impacting the plaintiff and other blind riders, but has not rectified the ill treatment.

After the court extended Uber’s time to respond to the complaint three times, the company moved to compel arbitration. The filing recites the details of the rider’s account creation in 2016 and his alleged consent to Uber’s terms of service, once then several times subsequently.

Uber argued that the plaintiff’s ADA claims trigger a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. “Plaintiff was presented with a conspicuous arbitration agreement and voluntarily assented to it,” the motion said.

With the issue of arbitrability delegated to the arbitrator under the terms of the contract, Uber said that the court should direct the claims to arbitration and stay the action pending its resolution.

The plaintiff is represented by Law Offices of Nolan Klein P.A. and Uber by Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.