Judge Guts Lawsuit Against Uber for Alleged Driver Tracking

But the plaintiff will be allowed to amend the complaint.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

A judge has dismissed most of a class-action lawsuit against Uber for the ride-hailing company's alleged tracking of drivers from rival Lyft, reports Bloomberg. The lawsuit claims Uber used a software program called "Hell" to follow the movements of drivers, and to determine which drivers worked for both it and Lyft.

After news of the "Hell" program broke last year, Lyft driver Michael Gonzales sued Uber, alleging that the program reduced income and constituted a violation of multiple laws, including the Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, California Invasion of Privacy Act, and the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, according to Engadget. Other drivers joined Gonzales and the suit gained class-action status.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley dismissed the complaints related to violations of privacy and wiretapping. However, she preserved the claim that Gonzales had lost income due to the Hell program, and allowed Gonzales to amend the claim that Uber violated the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, providing he can "allege facts that plausibly suggest Uber violated a particular subsection of the Act," reports TechCrunch.

The lawsuit was originally filed April 2017, but the original version was dismissed by Judge Corley in August. She granted the plaintiff the ability to amend the lawsuit at that time, meaning this is the second time the complaints will be amended.

Reports of the "Hell" software began circulating last year shortly before the lawsuit was filed. The name allegedly came from the program being a parallel to the "Heaven" or "God View" software Uber uses to track its own drivers. The reported purpose of "Hell" was to find out which Uber drivers also worked for Lyft, so they could be targeted with incentives and encouraged to work for Uber exclusively.

"Hell" was one of many Uber scandals that have cropped up over the past year. While the company has done significant damage control by settling a major lawsuit with Waymo and making significant changes to its app, Uber remains mired in controversy.

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