Why the Dismissed Uber ‘Hell’ Program Lawsuit Could Come Back
A federal judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against Uber for its secret ‘Hell’ program that the ride-hailing company used to track drivers working for rival Lyft. And while it’s a win for Uber, there is a chance it could come back.
On Thursday, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court of Northern California, granted Uber’s motion to dismiss the complaint with leave to amend. This means the plaintiff, in this case a former Lyft driver who filed the lawsuit in April, can file an amended complaint. The deadline to file an amended complaint is Sept. 14, according to court documents.
Uber declined to comment on the case. Caleb Marker, a partner with Zimmerman Reed, a firm representing the plaintiff suing Uber, told Fortune they intend to file an amended complaint.
The lawsuit filed April 24 by Michael Gonzales followed an article by The Information that revealed Uber had a secret program called “Hell” that allowed the company to use software to track how many Lyft drivers were available for new rides and their location. The secret spyware, which was used between 2014 and 2016, also showed Uber employees which drivers worked for Uber and Lyft. The information was used to help Uber entice those drivers away from its rival.
The lawsuit was suing Uber for damages for alleged unlawful invasion of privacy and interception of electronic communications and images in violation of the Federal Wiretap Act as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, and common law damages for invasion of privacy.
However, Uber countered those claims in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing among other points that the information was “readily accessible to the general public,” that Gonzales failed to show Uber eavesdropped on confidential communications,” and because he did not allege any injury or any loss of money or property.