Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Greenwich Taxi, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 13, 2015

GREENWICH TAXI, INC., ACE TAXI SERVICE, INC., CASINO CAB COMPANY, INC., CURTIN MOTOR LIVERY SERVICE, INC., EAST HARTFORD CAB COMPANY, INC., EXECUTIVE 2000 TRANSPORTATION, LLC, FARMINGTON VALLEY CAB, LLC, GROTON CAB COMPANY, INC., LASSE'S LIVERY SERVICE, INC., SUBURBAN TRANSPORTATION, INC., TAXICABS AND LIVERY COUNCIL OF CONNECTICUT, INC., THE WATERBURY YELLOW CAB & SERVICE COMPANY, INC., TORRINGTON VALLEY CAB, LLC, UNION-LYCEUM TAXI COMPANY, INC., and YELLOW CAB COMPANY OF NEW LONDON & GROTON, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and LYFT, INC., Defendants

Page 328

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 329

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 330

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 331

          For Greenwich Taxi, Inc, Curtin Motor Livery Service, Inc., East Hartford Cab Company, Inc., Executive 2000 Transportation, LLC, Farmington Valley Cab, LLC, Groton Cab Company, Inc., Lasse's Livery Service, Inc., Ace Taxi Service, Inc., Plaintiffs: Glenn E. Coe, Mary Alice Moore Leonhardt, LEAD ATTORNEYS, William Wade Kaliff, Rome McGuigan, P.C., Hartford, CT.

         For Suburban Transportation, Inc., Taxicabs and Livery Council of Connecticut, Inc., Waterbury Yellow Cab & Service Company, Inc., Torrington Valley Cab, LLC, Union-Lyceum Taxi Company, Inc., Yellow Cab Company of New London & Groton, Inc., Plaintiffs: Glenn E. Coe, Mary Alice Moore Leonhardt, LEAD ATTORNEYS, William Wade Kaliff, Daniel James Csuka, Rome McGuigan, P.C., Hartford, CT.

         For Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant: Amit B. Patel, Stephen A. Swedlow, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP - IL, Chicago, IL; Arthur M. Roberts, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP-San Francisco CA, San Francisco, CA; Kevin M. Smith, Wiggin & Dana, New Haven, CT; Melissa Fernandez, Wiggin & Dana LLP-Stfd, Stamford, CT.

Page 332

         RULING ON DEFENDANT UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS

         Alvin W. Thompson, United States District Judge.

         The plaintiffs bring this seven-count action against defendant Uber Technologies, Inc. (" Uber" ). The plaintiffs allege in their amended complaint that Uber misrepresented its services in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B) and § 1125(a)(1)(A) of the Lanham Act in Count I and Count II, respectively; that Uber engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 42-110a, et seq. (" CUTPA" ) in Count III; that Uber intentionally interfered with contractual relationships in Count IV; that Uber violated the " use or invest" prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 1962(a), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (" RICO" ), in Count V; that Uber violated the " interest in or control over" prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 1962(b), RICO, in Count VI; and that Uber violated the " conduct of enterprise" prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), RICO, in Count VII.

         Uber moves to dismiss the amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[1] The plaintiffs in their memorandum of law in opposition to the motion have requested leave to file a second amended complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is being granted, and the plaintiffs' request for leave to amend is being granted.

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         " The [amended] complaint, which [the court] must accept as true for purposes of testing its sufficiency, alleges the following circumstances." Monsky v. Moraghan, 127 F.3d 243, 244 (2d Cir. 1997).

         The plaintiffs allege that the Connecticut Department of Transportation is the state authority that regulates taxicab and livery services. The plaintiffs allege that on or about April 24, 2014, Uber began taxicab and/or livery operations in Connecticut without complying with state laws and regulations concerning such operations. The plaintiffs allege that Uber offers three types of conveyance-for-hire vehicles in Connecticut: UberX, UberBLACK Cars, and Uber SUVs.[2]

         The plaintiffs allege that Uber communicates with customers through a free smart phone application (" app" ). The app allows consumers in Connecticut to summon a low-cost everyday vehicle (UberX) or a more expensive livery car, including a " black car" or an " SUV" . Once a user opens the Uber app, it displays a map of the user's location, or a designated pickup point, displays the available vehicles in the

Page 333

neighborhood, and states the wait time for each type of car. The user then selects the type of car he or she wants based on how much the user wants to spend and how many cars in each price range are nearby. The app then displays the name and photograph of the driver of the selected Uber-affiliated car and sends a text message to the user with the driver's projected arrival time and cellular phone number.

         The plaintiffs allege that Uber owns no cars, no taxicab certificates, no livery permits and no plates, and employs no drivers. The plaintiffs allege that Uber is, in fact, providing taxicab and livery services in Connecticut because the affiliated cars are hailed by Uber's smart phone app on an " on demand" (for taxicabs) or " prescheduled" (for livery vehicles) basis and are assigned to customers through Uber's computer system with fares determined by Uber's fare charging system.

         The plaintiffs allege that the defendant " partners" with the plaintiffs' drivers, each of " who[m] make[s] an illegal side deal with Uber to take its customers while simultaneously working a normal shift with his or her authorized company." (Amended Complaint and Application for TRO, Preliminary Injunction and Permanent Injunction, Doc. No. 33 (" Am. Compl." ), ¶ 60.) The plaintiffs allege that the defendant, inter alia, misrepresents to customers its compliance with Connecticut laws and regulations, misrepresents its insurance coverage, misrepresents the safety of its drivers, misrepresents its affiliation with lawfully operating taxicab and livery companies, and misrepresents its fares.

         The plaintiffs also allege that the defendant unfairly competes with them because the defendant is not complying with Connecticut laws and regulations concerning taxicabs and livery vehicles which the plaintiffs must follow, and that the defendant is tortiously interfering with the contractual relationships between the plaintiffs and their drivers as well as the contractual relationships between the plaintiffs and credit card processing companies.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         When deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and must draw inferences in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974). Although a complaint " does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the `grounds' of his `entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986) (on a motion to dismiss, courts " are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation" )). " Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (internal quotation marks omitted)). " Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). However, the plaintiff must plead " only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. " The function of a motion to dismiss is 'merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof.'"

Page 334

Mytych v. May Dep't Store Co., 34 F.Supp.2d 130, 131 (D. Conn. 1999) (quoting Ryder Energy Distrib. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984)). " The issue [on a motion to dismiss] is not whether [the] plaintiff will prevail, but whether he is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims." United States v. Yale New Haven Hosp., 727 F.Supp. 784, 786 (D. Conn. 1990) (citing Scheuer, 416 U.S. at 232).

         In its review of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court may consider " only the facts alleged in the pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the pleadings and matters of which judicial notice may be taken." Samuels v. Air Transp. Local 504, 992 F.2d 12, 15 (2d Cir. 1993).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Count I: False Advertising, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B)

         " Section 1125(a) . . . creates two distinct bases of liability: false association, § 1125(a)(1)(A), and false advertising, § 1125(a)(1)(B)." Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 1377, 1384, 188 L.Ed.2d 392 (2014). For false advertising, the Lanham Act provides, in pertinent part:

Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which . . . in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities, shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B).

To establish a false advertising claim under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, a plaintiff must prove the following elements: (1) the defendant has made a false or misleading statement; (2) the false or misleading statement has actually deceived or has the capacity to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience; (3) the deception is material, in that it is likely to influence purchasing decisions; (4) the defendant placed the false or misleading statement in interstate commerce; and (5) the plaintiff has been injured as a result of the misrepresentation, either by direct diversion of sales or by a lessening of goodwill associated with its products.

Merck Eprova AG v. Gnosis S.p.A., 901 F.Supp.2d 436, 449-50 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) aff'd, 760 F.3d 247 (2d ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.