Mashel Law, L.L.C. recently filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court of New Jersey against Lyft, Inc. (Lyft) on behalf of current and former Lyft drivers who entered contracts with Lyft to receive a portion of the fare Lyft charges customers, that is, the fare charged the rider less Lyft’s applicable commission fee, and any applicable charges such as service fees, cancellation fees, damage fees, tolls, surcharges, and taxes, but who did not receive the contracted driver’s fee, and who opted out of arbitration. Lyft is a “ridesharing” business that originated in San Francisco, California in 2012, and whose chief competitor is Uber. Lyft operates in at least 33 other states in the United States.

Under this straightforward common law breach of contract action, the proposed class consists of all persons nationwide who entered contracts with Lyft to provide transportation services to customers (riders) of Lyft in exchange for a portion of the fare Lyft charges riders, to wit, the fare charged the rider (plus tips if applicable) less applicable charges such as service fees, cancellation fees, damage fees, tolls, surcharges, taxes, and who opted out of arbitration. The complaint also asserts common law claims of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, and unjust enrichment.

A class action lawsuit is appropriate when large numbers of similarly situated people have suffered same or similar injuries by the acts or omissions of a wrongdoer, typically a large corporation. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a class may be certified if the requirements of Rule 23 are met, including: (1) numerosity; (2) commonality of law or fact; (3) typicality between the class claims and those of the named parties; and (4) adequacy of representation by the named parties and class counsel. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a).  “[T]he proposed class must also satisfy at least one of the three requirements listed in Rule 23(b).” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541, 2548 (2011). A party seeking certification pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), must show that “the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3).

Stephan T. Mashel, Esquire, of the law firm of Mashel Law, L.L.C., says his client in the Lyft case seeks class certification and an award of money damages because Lyft unjustly enriched itself by failing to pay its drivers what they were and are contractually entitled to receive. As Mashel explains, “This lawsuit was filed because Lyft has and continues to breach the terms of the contract it entered with Ms. Nieves and those similarly situated Lyft drivers she seeks to represent. Underpayments by Lyft to its drivers is systemic and occurs because Lyft charges its customers based on an estimation of the time and distance it will take to complete the ride while at the same time it pays the drivers based on a separate fare calculation reflecting actual miles and minutes driven. Because Lyft does not calculate the driver’s payment based on the actual fare charged to the rider as required by the terms of the contract it entered with the drivers, Lyft is paying the drivers less than what the drivers are contractually entitled to receive.”

At Mashel Law LLC, we are experienced in handling class action lawsuits, disability discrimination and workplace retaliation claims. If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful acts or omissions in the workplace, call the attorneys at Mashel Law (732) 536-6161 or fill out the contact form on this page for immediate help. At Mashel Law, LLC, located in Marlboro, New Jersey, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of employees.

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