[Tall-Corn] FW: [NAGDU] FW: Uber Service Animal Class Settlement Update

Scott Van Gorp svangorp at nfbi.org
Sat Mar 28 02:04:43 UTC 2020

Good Evening Fellow Federationists:
See below. It is critical that service denials get reported. This letter
regards Uber, but similar action may need to be taken with Lyft as well
depending on the firms' findings.

Scott Van Gorp, President
National Federation of the Blind of Iowa
Phone: 515-720-5282
Live the life you want.

The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa is a community of members and
friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation's blind. Every day
we work together to help blind people live the lives they want.

-----Original Message----- 

From: Timothy Elder [mailto:telder at trelegal.com]
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2020 3:34 PM
To: Timothy Elder <telder at trelegal.com>
Cc: uberserviceanimalaccess at rbgg.com; info at dralegal.org; Yingling, Valerie
<Vyingling at nfb.org>
Subject: Uber Service Animal Class Settlement Update


Dear Uber Riders Accompanied By Service Animals and Interested Parties:


You are receiving this letter because you have previously communicated with
us or are a member of the class or an interested party in the case of
National Federation of the Blind v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 14-cv-04086 NC
(N.D. Cal.). The case challenges discrimination experienced by riders with
service animals who want to use the Uber ridesharing service. We are
preparing to return to court to address ongoing discrimination and need your
statement by April 17, 2020, in support of the effort. 

On December 6, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California approved a nationwide class action settlement, reflected in this
NAL-Accessible-for-Public1.pdf> Settlement Agreement. Further information is
available on the National Federation of the Blind's
er-and-lyft-information> rideshare page. In compliance with the 
er-and-lyft-information> settlement
agreement, the law firms
blind-uber-riders-use-guide-dogs/> Disability Rights Advocates,
<https://rbgg.com/final-uber-settlement-approval/> Rosen Bien Galvan &
Grunfeld, LLP, and
ination-against-passengers-with-service-animals/> TRE Legal Practice, the
approved Class Counsel, have been monitoring progress under the settlement.
The following is an update on those monitoring efforts and a description of
how you can help. 

During compliance monitoring for the period between February 16, 2017, the
first date for which Uber reported this data, up through December 31, 2018,
Uber disclosed that it had received 11,295 rider complaints of denials due
to service animals and 3,268 reports of non-denial service-animal
discrimination, all within the United States and Washington D.C. The number
of such denials per month fluctuated up and down, as reflected in this
table and this
audio and visual line graph.

Based on the information currently available, the overall number of such
denials did not appear to materially decrease as of December 2018, which is
in line with what Class Counsel and the NFB have heard from some of you
based on your individual experiences.

Uber suggests that the number of complaints should be considered in the
context of its overall increases or decreases in trip volume for general
ridership. The percentage of all trips that resulted in a complaint to Uber
are disclosed on this

Class Counsel and the NFB do not believe that a comparison of total general
trip volume to reported ride denials is a sufficiently reliable measure of
settlement effectiveness. Trip volume percentage does not account for
unreported denials or complaint fatigue over time. Instead, Class Counsel
proposes that the parties consider a more objective comparison of trip
cancellation rates for the general population of Uber riders and control
groups of blind riders who travel with service animals and blind riders who
do not travel with service animals. This additional data would help
determine whether the settlement has resulted in a statistically significant
decrease in denials for service animal users relative to the number of rides
and cancellations for Uber riders as a whole. Uber is refusing to disclose
this data on comparative cancellation rates.

Further data exists from Uber and the National Federation of the Blind's
national testing program for the time period from January 2019 to present.
However, that data is still covered by confidentiality in accordance with
the settlement terms and court order.

Given the data that is currently available, Class Counsel and the NFB
proposed that Uber agree to several substantive settlement modifications
that were meant to materially reduce this apparently persistent
discrimination. The
Third Party Monitor for the first year of the settlement highlights some of
the particular issues that have been discussed during monitoring.

Uber has rejected the following commitments that Class Counsel and NFB have
asked Uber to make through the settlement monitoring and alternative dispute
resolution procedures:

*         Adopt and disclose policies and training materials meant to
improve consistency of terminations for drivers who knowingly deny riders
with service animals (including policies on contacting witnesses of

*         Translate service animal related driver education materials into
non-English languages to ensure that drivers with limited English
proficiency are made aware of their responsibility to transport riders with
service animals

*         Develop additional incentive programs that encourage drivers to
transport riders with service animals

*         Provide greater detail about investigations and reasons for
decisions on a limited set of complaints as requested by Class Counsel


The parties have been negotiating various compliance concerns and, in some
cases, Uber has corrected non-compliance with existing obligations and fixed
discriminatory policies with respect to the shared rides available under the
Pool service. But more is clearly required to make a meaningful reduction in
the magnitude of discrimination, such as the reasonable requests above that
Uber has thus far rejected. Class Counsel, the NFB and the Class
Representatives have worked within the confines of the settlement process to
collaborate on solutions. We now have no further recourse but to go back to
court to seek additional relief.

You can help in two important ways. First, continue to report every incident
of discrimination to Uber to ensure that all discrimination is considered as
we measure progress; letting denials go unreported misrepresents the scope
of the problem in the currently available data sets. Second, respond to this
letter and offer to provide Class Counsel with your signed statement by
April 17, 2020, if any of the following apply to you:

*         A persistently substantial percentage of your rides result in
overt discrimination by drivers when you notify them of the presence of your
service animal

*         A significant number of your ride denials occur in sequence or
across a brief period of time when drivers are made aware of the presence of
your service animal

*         Uber often responds by only warning Drivers after you presented
Uber staff with compelling evidence of the driver's knowing denial because
of your service animal

*         Uber often lets drivers off with a warning without interviewing
one or more witnesses whose contact information was provided to Uber staff
in support of a knowing denial

*         Drivers seemed unaware of their legal obligations due to language

*         You find it difficult to easily obtain information about a driver
who cancels before starting a trip

*         You have changed your frequency of submitting service
animal-related complaints to Uber or experience other frustration with the
amount of effort needed to submit complaints 


Thank you for your continued efforts to hold Uber accountable for the
discrimination you face because of your service animals. Class Counsel, the
NFB and the individual Class Representatives understand your frustration as
we all work to solve this complex problem. We are committed to take all
steps needed to advocate for your rights during the remainder of the
settlement term, which expires in July 2020, and then beyond toward a
broader set of post-settlement protections for your legal right to travel
with a service animal. Contact Class Counsel to share your statement as

*         Timothy Elder, TRE Legal Practice,
<mailto:rideshare at trelegal.com> rideshare at trelegal.com or (415) 873-9199

*         Michael Nunez, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP,
<mailto:uberserviceanimalaccess at rbgg.com> uberserviceanimalaccess at rbgg.com
or (415) 433-6830 

*         Melissa Riess, Disability Rights Advocates,
<mailto:mriess at dralegal.org> info at dralegal.org or (510) 665-8644

*         Valerie Yingling, National Federation of the Blind,
<mailto:vyingling at nfb.org> vyingling at nfb.org or (410) 659-9314 


Additional Resources:

This linked
ce-animal-complaints/> article gives guidance on how to submit effective and
accurate complaints to Uber.

nited-states&lang=en> terms may be of interest for individuals considering
arbitration of state law damages claims, including the exclusion of
procedures in small claims court from the arbitration requirement.





Timothy Elder
TRE Legal Practice
1155 Market Street, Tenth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 873-9199
Fax: (415) 952-9898

E-mail:  <mailto:telder at trelegal.com> telder at trelegal.com
<http://www.trelegal.com/> www.trelegal.com 

Twitter:  <https://twitter.com/TRELegal> @trelegal Please consider the
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