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US: Judge rules Uber can be added as defendant to surge pricing lawsuit

 |  June 21, 2016

A federal judge says ride-hailing service Uber can be added as a defendant to an antitrust lawsuit against the company’s co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick.

Uber is a “necessary party” in the lawsuit, US District Judge Jed Rakoff said in a decision made public Monday.

The decision, however, is good news for Uber because it could push the suit toward arbitration, something that Kalanick and the company prefers. Uber’s user agreement calls for disputes to be settled through arbitration and Rakoff said the lawsuit was directed specifically at Kalanick to get around that policy.

“While plaintiff now pretends that he ‘seeks no relief whatsoever against Uber,’ such an assertion is at odds with any fair reading of plaintiff’s claim,” Rakoff said.

At issue is surge pricing, which happens when demand for drivers spikes, and prices for rides, which are set via algorithm, do too. It’s a controversial practice and one that’s upset consumers.

The antitrust class action suit was filed in December, saying that Kalanick “had orchestrated and facilitated an illegal price-fixing conspiracy.”

Full Content: CNET

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