An Uber driver from Massachusetts is suing for disability pay after he was shot in the head while picking up a passenger in 2017. Now, there’s a debate regarding where to send the dispute. Neither Uber Technologies Inc. nor the driver believes the case belongs in federal court.
Pedro Fontes was shot multiple times by an unknown assailant while picking up a passenger in Boston. Fontes brought claims under Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation law in a suit filed in state court in August 2020. Uber moved the case to federal court in September.
While neither side believes the case belongs in federal court, both sides want the case to go somewhere different. Uber has asked for an arbitrator to decide the claims, while Fontes has asked the court to remand the lawsuit back to state court.
The reasons for the request range from an arbitration clause in Uber’s terms of service to the applicability of exemptions to the Federal Arbitration Act and the question as to whether companies like Uber can shift state workers’ compensation suits to federal court.
According to Fontes’ lawyer, gig economy workers can avoid arbitration since they qualify for the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for transportation workers. In addition to that, Fontes’ lawyer believes the case should be moved back to state court because federal law bars workers’ compensation claims from being shifted to federal courts.
Uber’s attorney, however, believes the federal law’s arbitration exemption doesn’t apply to Uber drivers because many don’t drive through state lines. Uber is urging the court to have the workers’ compensation claim be decided by the Department of Industrial Accidents’ administrative forum.
The question at the center of the matter has to do with rideshare drivers’ employee status. Many suits like this hinge on early rulings about whether claims have to be heard in arbitration due to agreements signed by the workers, whether those agreements are valid, and whether the Federal Arbitration Act exempts drivers because they are transportation workers.
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In the event you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident or injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. The lawyers from the Rideshare Law Group represent injury victims on a nationwide basis and we’re ready to take your case on next. Contact us today for more information.