Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dash for Arbitration

DoorDash delivery workers filed thousands of individual claims at once as initial fees approach $12 million for the company. Under District Judge William Alsup’s order this week in Abernathy v. DoorDash pending in the Northern District of California, DoorDash must arbitrate over 5,000 individual disputes with various workers who claim that they were misclassified as independent contractors, when they should be treated as employees. It also must pay a $1,900 fee for each of these individual arbitration proceedings. As with other gig economy platforms, DoorDash includes an arbitration agreement in its contracts with couriers, who deliver food orders. But after facing a flood of claims, DoorDash balked at the costs of going into arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) where couriers themselves paid more than $1.2 million in filing fees. After Uber imposed arbitration and a class action ban, more than 60,000 of those drivers sought to arbitrate claims against the company. Faced with legal costs of at least $600 million, Uber settled the a majority of these claims last spring. Could the same happen in this case? Another California federal judge similarly compelled arbitration in a case with thousands of claims against Postmates, asking the attorneys to explain how the company’s refusal to pay arbitration fees didn’t amount to contempt. A ruling is pending on that issue. DoorDash had asked to suspend the court proceedings until the approval of a settlement could be reached in a separate class-action case, given the potential for overlap. The company reportedly stands ready and willing to defend legitimate arbitration demands, but maintains it should only be responsible for arbitrating legitimate claims. See more here-- and and