Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are becoming ever-popular for people in Jacksonville and nationwide. They offer a means to prevent drunk driving, as those who go out drinking can choose to call Uber or Lyft to get home, rather than drive drunk. For those without a car, Uber and Lyft can provide them with a means to get from one place to the other when it comes to running errands or visiting family and friends. However, these companies are experiencing growing pains and drivers for Lyft are taking legal action against Uber alleging unfair competition, among other claims.
Drivers for Lyft Inc. were given the go-ahead to revise a legal filing stating that Uber Technologies Inc. used a computer program to spy on the drivers in order to have a competitive advantage. In the lawsuit, the drivers claim Uber violated laws regarding privacy, wiretapping and unfair competition. It is claimed that the driver who instigated the legal action lost revenue due to Uber’s efforts to lower the number of Lyft drivers.
Business claims of privacy, wiretapping and unfair competition can be quite serious. For example, the theft of business trade secrets that could accompany such charges could give the instigator of the theft an unfair competitive edge. That is why unfair competition laws exist. They protect businesses from such practices, so that the world of commerce and free trade can be a fair one.
Businesses that feel they have been subjected to unlawful unfair competition will want to do what is necessary to protect themselves. Sometimes this means engaging in business litigation. Sometimes simply filing a lawsuit is enough to get the wrongful party to cease the unfair practice. Still, such practices may have already caused the business damages, for which they may want to seek remedies. The type of remedy that is most appropriate depends on what damage has been done. Sometimes restitution is appropriate, while other times an order to cease a certain practice is what is needed. These cases are very fact specific, so what works for one business may not work for another business. Businesses who believe they have a reason to file a lawsuit should make sure they understand the laws behind their claims before proceeding.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Judge pares down Lyft drivers’ lawsuit against Uber over ‘Hell’ spyware,” April 19, 2018