In an opinion yesterday, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Forrest’s ruling (covered here) dismissing claims by consumer and commercial end-users who alleged that aluminum trading firms and warehouses conspired to increase the price of aluminum.  The Second Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs lacked antitrust standing because they did not participate in the markets where the wrongdoing was alleged to have occurred:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Agrees With Judge Forrest that Aluminum Consumers Lack Antitrust Standing for Alleged Conspiracy Between Warehouses and Traders

In an opinion today, Judge Rakoff denied a motion to compel arbitration of antitrust claims against Uber’s CEO because he found that the arbitration clause was too concealed for the plaintiff to have reasonably agreed to it.  (See our prior posts on the case here.)

When a user enters his or her credit card information, there is a button that says “Register,” and below that, in a “barely legible” font, it says:  “By creating an Uber account you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.”  The phrase “Terms of Service” is a hyperlink to terms that include a mandatory arbitration clause.

Judge Rakoff acknowledged that there is extensive case law upholding arbitration agreements when users must click a button stating “I agree” to the terms of use (so called “clickwrap” agreements), but found that the facts here were towards the other end of the spectrum, where the clauses are not enforceable:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Rules That Uber’s Customer Arbitration Clause Is Not Conspicuous Enough to Be Enforceable

In the latest chapter of the saga over Uber’s background investigations into an antitrust plaintiff and his counsel (see coverage here), Judge Rakoff has ordered Uber and its investigative firm, Ergo, to cease their background investigations and has enjoined Uber from using any information found during the investigation in the antitrust proceeding.  Uber had hired Ergo to investigate the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel, an Ergo allegedly made various misrepresentations to gain information from friends and colleagues of the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel.

Judge Rakoff did not reach the issue of monetary sanctions, as defendants “have reached an agreement to pay plaintiff a reasonable (though publicly undisclosed) sum in reimbursement of plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in conjunction with these matters.”  Judge Rakoff described the proceedings as a “sad day” and noted that:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Orders Uber Investigative Firm to Stop “Arguably Criminal Conduct,” Uber Will Pay Plaintiff’s Fees

Yesterday — just hours after Judge Rakoff ordered broad discovery from Uber and its in-house counsel regarding potentially improper investigative techniques —  Uber’s CEO moved to compel arbitration in the antitrust class action brought by Uber riders (see previous coverage here).  The motion argues that the CEO, as an employee of Uber, is entitled to assert Uber’s arbitration clause in the terms and conditions that each rider agreed to.  The motion also argues that the arbitrator, and not Judge Rakoff, should decide the question of arbitrability in the first instance.

Continue Reading On Heels of Inquiry Into Potential Litigation Misconduct, Uber CEO Moves to Have Case Heard in Arbitration

A memorandum order released today reveals that, in an antitrust case against Uber’s CEO (covered here), Judge Rakoff became concerned over improper investigative techniques that Uber (or its agents) employed.  Specifically, Uber hired an firm called Ergo to investigate the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel, and, in doing so, Ergo’s investigator allegedly made various misrepresentations to gain information, such as claiming that he was a reporter writing a profile of plaintiff’s counsel.

At a hearing (the transcript of which remains nonpublic), Judge Rakoff ordered broad discovery from Uber — including from an Uber in-house attorney — and from Ergo concerning the investigation.  In the order released today, Judge Rakoff denied Uber’s motion to reconsider a portion of his ruling calling for in camera review of privileged material as possibly falling within the “crime-fraud” exception to the privilege:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Authorizes Discovery from Uber Counsel to Probe Potentially Improper Investigation of Adversary and Opposing Counsel

In an opinion Monday, the Second Circuit reversed Judge Buchwald’s dismissal of antitrust claims based on the alleged manipulation of LIBOR (covered here).  Judge Buchwald ruled that the process of establishing LIBOR was a “cooperative” endeavor that, even if manipulated, would not cause harm to competition for purposes of the antitrust laws.  The Second

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Rakoff denied a motion to dismiss a class action against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick alleging that he and Uber drivers had entered into an illegal conspiracy to fix Uber prices at those set by Uber’s algorithm. According to the complaint, this arrangement guarantees that the drivers will not be competing

Shortly before a nine-day bench trial was scheduled to start this morning, Major League Baseball settled an antitrust suit alleging it is anticompetitive for Major League Baseball broadcast out-of-market games only as part of a allegedly overpriced all-or-nothing packages.  As part of the settlement, MLB will offer reduced price packages for fans to stream out-of-market

In an opinion today, Judge Forrest dismissed (with a limited right to replead) claims that various banks and their affiliates conspired to monopolize and inflate prices in the market for zinc stored in warehouses licensed by the London Metal Exchange.  The case is similar to the aluminum antitrust cases before Judge Forrest (covered here).  She found (among other things) that the complaint alleged, at most, parallel conduct.
Continue Reading Judge Forrest Dismisses Zinc Antitrust Case; Chides Lawyers for “Group Pleading”