O’Hanlon v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

Click here for case documents Date Filed: 06/11/2019 Status:

On June 11, 2019, DRA and co-counsel Carlson Lynch filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging its failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available through its popular, on-demand ridesharing service in the Pittsburgh area. Uber is a multi-billion dollar company and a major provider of transportation services in the Pittsburgh area. However, Uber fails to provide any wheelchair accessible vehicles through its on-demand ridesharing service in Pittsburgh.  The plaintiffs—The Thomas Merton Center and four individuals who use wheelchairs—brought this action to end Uber’s discriminatory practices and policies.

On November 12, 2019, a federal court in Pittsburgh ruled that plaintiffs suing Uber for failing to provide transportation accessible to people with disabilities cannot be forced into arbitration and must have their claims heard openly in federal court. And on March 17, 2021, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that plaintiffs cannot be forced out of court and into arbitration, rejecting Uber’s argument that a provision in its terms of service could apply to people who had never agreed to it, and prevent them from bringing discrimination claims against Uber in court.

Since launching its transportation service in San Francisco in July 2010, Uber has experienced explosive growth, has seized an ever-expanding market share from taxi companies, and is now a major provider of individual transportation services in over 450 cities in the United States, including Pittsburgh.

Uber has been sued in cities around the United States for its violation of disability laws by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible service, yet it has continued its policy of denying that service. 

Uber’s failure to make accessible vehicles available through its service denies people in Pittsburgh who use wheelchairs access to reliable, on-demand transportation that could drastically improve their lives, enabling them to travel to a wider variety of destinations without having to rely on transportation via expensive and unreliable taxis, unreliable paratransit, and limited public transit. It would enable them to travel spontaneously, without having to schedule transportation hours or even days in advance. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs and members of the class are excluded from these benefits, and suffer real harm as a result.

The lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that it makes wheelchair accessible vehicles readily available to persons who need them through its on-demand ridesharing services.   Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

In addition to the case filed against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs.  DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California.  These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country.

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