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Lathrop v. UBER Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 7, 2016

JAMES LATHROP, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO DEFER COURT'S CONSIDERATION OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT RE: ECF NO. 172

          JON S. TIGAR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a putative class action against Uber for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. ECF No. 54 (Second Amended Complaint). Uber filed an early motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 146. Plaintiffs responded by filing a motion requesting the Court defer consideration of Uber's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 172. The Court will grant Plaintiffs' motion to defer consideration of Uber's motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is a putative class action alleging that Uber's practice of sending text messages to recruit drivers violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"). ECF No. 54 ¶ 1. Plaintiffs allege that they received automated texts from Uber without having expressly consented to receive them. Id. ¶¶ 32, 48, 61, 75, 88, 98.

         Uber, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in San Francisco, "is a nationwide passenger transportation service that connects riders and drivers through a cellular telephone application." Id. ¶¶ 5, 22. Uber riders use the application to "request and pay for on-demand car services, " while Uber drivers "receive requests from Uber users via the" application and "use their own cars to provide the car services . . . ." Id. ¶¶ 6, 7. According to Plaintiffs, "Uber's recruiting tactics include sending prolific text messages to prospective Uber drivers." Id. ¶ 10.

         The Complaint is filed on behalf of five named Plaintiffs, bringing claims on behalf of themselves and two putative nationwide classes. Id. ¶¶ 16-21, 100-110. Plaintiffs define Class A as:

All persons domiciled within the United States who, within the last four years, received a non-emergency text message on their cellular telephone from Uber, without their prior express consent, via an ATDS, and prior to receiving the text message had not provided Uber with the cellular telephone number at which they received the text message from Uber.

Id. ¶ 100. Class B is defined as:

All persons domiciled within the United States who, within the last four years, received a non-emergency text message on their cellular telephone from Uber, without their prior express consent, via an ATDS, after providing Uber with the telephone number at which they received the text message from Uber through Uber's website.

Id. ¶ 101.

         On February 27, 2015, Uber filed a Motion to Dismiss the claims of all of the Class B Plaintiffs, contending primarily that each provided his or her cellular telephone number to Uber during the driver-application process and therefore provided prior express consent to receive the complained-of text messages. ECF No. 25. The Court determined that for four of the five named Class B Plaintiffs, the Court could not conclude from the face of the complaint that the plaintiffs consented to receive Uber's text by starting but not completing their driver applications, and denied the motion as to those plaintiffs. ECF No. 49.

         The parties are presently in the midst of discovery. Plaintiffs have issued several sets of interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission-some of which remain outstanding. Three separate joint discovery letter briefs were submitted to Magistrate Judge Westmore. See ECF Nos. 159, 160, 161. The first joint letter concerned Uber's production of logs of text messages. ECF No. 159. The second letter brief concerned Plaintiffs' request for documents related to the appearance of and text on Uber's websites. ECF No. 160. The third letter brief concerned information about Uber's analytics database. Judge Westmore recently issued orders regarding the three letter briefs, see ECF Nos. 169 and 187, and Plaintiffs seek relief from Judge Westmore's order at ECF No. 169, see ECF No. 185. That motion was recently deemed denied pursuant to Civil Local Rule 72-2. ECF No. 199.

         II. ...


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