In an opinion Monday, Judge Rakoff refused to vacate an antitrust arbitration ruling in Uber’s favor, even though the arbitrator joked at one point: “I must say I act out of fear. My fear is if I ruled Uber illegal, I would need security. I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.”
Judge Rakoff found this was merely a poor attempt at humor by an arbitrator that had better jokes on other occasions in the case (e.g., “ARBITRATOR: I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but when surge prices go on, I check Lyft. [KALANICK]: That’s fair.”):
[T]he Court finds that the arbitrator’s concluding remarks, rather than a sincere confession of fear, were simply an attempt at humor — one of many made by the arbitrator throughout the hearing. Indeed, if the arbitrator had in fact been making his decision out of fear, the last thing he would have done is placed that on the record. While perhaps inappropriate (or, worse yet, not as humorous as some of the arbitrator’s better jokes), the remarks are not inconsistent with impartiality once their patently jestful intent is recognized.
Our previous coverage of the case is here.