Uber offers $1 per driver to resolve labor questions, drivers’ attorney agrees

Man driving
The case isn’t over, but a new chapter on what was once a potential multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit might now settle in the single digit millions. California Uber drivers’ attorney Christopher Morosoff has asked a state judge to accept Uber’s offer of $7.75 million to settle the drivers’ suit over employee status, according to Bloomberg.

In August 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen refused to accept a $100 million settlement offer as much too low and granted class-action status to the drivers’ lawsuit — a status the settlement was meant to avoid. Subsequently in September Uber won an appeal that forced drivers to enter into arbitration with the company on an individual basis, which took the financial pressure off the rideshare company. Uber lost a similar case in the U.K. in October 2016, though, where drivers are now classified as employees, not self-employed independent contractors.

With no hope for a federal class-action suit, Uber driver Steven Price brought suit against Uber under a California statute known as a “bounty hunter law.” The Private Attorney’s General Act (PAGA), passed in 2004, lets employees bring enforcement actions against companies. PAGA lawsuits cannot be moved to arbitration.

When Morosoff presented the Price case in a hearing in San Francisco in June, with a list of 17 alleged labor code violations, he brought big numbers, based on a state labor enforcement agency estimate that the federal suit which was based on just two claims would have penalties of $1 billion.

“Do the math there,” Bloomberg reports Morosoff told U.S. District Judge Edward Chen at the time. “The numbers may be staggering, and they may be in the billions, and you may not want to look at them, but they are real.”

Now, however, the same attorney is calling the $7.75 million settlement offer “a reasonable and fair compromise,” Bloomberg reports. After the state takes a 75-percent share and the attorney fees, the amount remaining to be split among 1.6 million drivers would be $1.7 million, just over $1 each. Uber also claims that if the settlement is accepted it will apply to all PAGA claims from Uber drivers from early July 2013 until the date a state judge signs the settlement agreement. If the judge accepts the deal, it will close any chance for what was at one time a much larger potential payday for Uber drivers.

The original attorney for Uber drivers in the federal case, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said Uber went “forum shopping.” “It is looking for a judge who will approve a far smaller settlement than I had last year, which the federal court declined to approve,” Liss-Riordan wrote to Bloomberg an e-mail. “Now Uber is trying to get a settlement approved in state court for a lower amount for the PAGA claims than Judge Chen said he would not approve, but without the drivers getting the benefit of the far larger settlement that I was able to negotiate.”


Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.

Cathay Pacific messes up first-class ticket prices — again

A couple of weeks ago, an error on Cathay Pacific's website resulted in first-class seats selling for a tenth of the price. On Sunday, January 13, the airline made the error again. The good news is that it'll honor the bookings.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.