United States District Court, D. Minnesota
JOSEPH SIENKANIEC, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., and RASIER, LLC, Defendants.
Christopher J. Moreland and Melissa S. Weiner, HALUNEN LAW,
H. Lassetter and Andrew J. Voss, LITTLER MENDELSON P.C., for
PATRICK J. SCHILTZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of defendants Uber
Technologies, Inc. and Rasier, LLC (collectively
“Uber”) to compel arbitration of this matter
under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9
U.S.C. § 1 et seq. In opposing Uber's motion,
plaintiff Joseph Sienkaniec argues that the FAA does not
apply to his claims against Uber because he is a
“worker engaged in foreign or interstate
commerce” for purposes of 9 U.S.C. § 1. Sienkaniec
also argues that the arbitration provisions in his contract
with Uber are unconscionable.
contract between Uber and Sienkaniec contains a
“delegation clause” that requires the parties to
arbitrate “disputes arising out of or relating to
interpretation or application of this Arbitration Provision,
including the enforceability, revocability or validity of the
Arbitration Provision or any portion of the Arbitration
Provision.” ECF No. 10-1 at 44. It is therefore clear
that, under Green v. SuperShuttle International,
Inc., 653 F.3d 766, 769 (8th Cir. 2011), an
“arbitrator [must] decide whether the FAA's
transportation worker exemption applie[s].” Sienkaniec
argues that Green was wrongly decided, and he urges
the Court to apply instead the “more recent” and
“more thoroughly reasoned” decisions of other
courts, such as Oliveira v. New Prime, Inc., 857
F.3d 7, 12-15 (1st Cir. 2017). ECF No. 15 at 28 n.15. But
unless and until the Eighth Circuit overturns Green,
this Court is bound to apply it, and Green requires
that an arbitrator (and not this Court) decide whether
Sienkaniec is exempt from the FAA.
also argues-in two paragraphs of his 31-page brief-that the
arbitration provisions of his contract with Uber (including
the delegation clause) are unconscionable. Many courts have
addressed similar attacks on the standard Uber driver's
contract. As far as this Court can determine, every one of
those courts (save for a single trial judge in
California) has held that the arbitration provisions
are not unconscionable-which is not surprising, given that
Uber drivers such as Sienkaniec can easily opt out of those
provisions. See, e.g., Mohamed v. Uber Techs.,
Inc., 848 F.3d 1201, 1210-12 (9th Cir. 2016); Lathan
v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. 16-CV-794, 2017 WL 3141890, at
*3 (E.D. Wis. July 24, 2017); Rimel v. Uber Techs.,
Inc., 246 F.Supp.3d 1317, 1326-28 (M.D. Fla. 2017);
Mumin v. Uber Techs., Inc., 239 F.Supp.3d 507,
525-26 (E.D.N.Y. 2017); Kai Peng v. Uber Techs.,
Inc., 237 F.Supp.3d 36, 54-58 (E.D.N.Y. 2017);
Saizhang Guan v. Uber Techs., Inc., 236 F.Supp.3d
711, 729-33 (E.D.N.Y. 2017); Singh v. Uber Techs.
Inc., 235 F.Supp.3d 656, 674-76 (D.N.J. 2017);
Richemond v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. 16-CV-23267,
2017 WL 416123, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 27, 2017);
Micheletti v. Uber Techs., Inc., 213 F.Supp.3d 839,
847-49 (W.D. Tex. 2016); Bruster v. Uber Techs.
Inc., 188 F.Supp.3d 658, 664 (N.D. Ohio 2016),
reconsideration denied, No. 15-CV-2653, 2016 WL
4086786, at *2 (N.D. Ohio Aug. 2, 2016).
Court agrees that, for the reasons explained in these
opinions, the arbitration provisions in the Uber contract are
not unconscionable. The parties must arbitrate the question
of whether the transportation-worker exemption of the FAA
applies to Sienkaniec. As instructed by Green, the
Court will stay this action until the arbitrator issues a
decision. 653 F.3d at 770. If the arbitrator finds that the
transportation-worker exemption applies to Sienkaniec, then
Sienkaniec may litigate his claims against Uber in this
Court. If the arbitrator finds that the transportation-worker
exemption does not apply to Sienkaniec, then the parties must
arbitrate Sienkaniec's claims against Uber.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. Defendants' Motion To Dismiss and To Compel
Arbitration [ECF No. 7] is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE IN PART.
2. The parties are ORDERED to arbitrate the question of
whether Sienkaniec's claims against Uber must be
arbitrated under the FAA.
3. This action is STAYED.
4. If the arbitrator finds that the FAA applies to
Sienkaniec's claims against Uber, then the parties are
ORDERED to arbitrate those claims, and this stay will remain
in effect pending the outcome of that arbitration.
5. If the arbitrator finds that the FAA does not apply to
Sienkaniec's claims against Uber, then this stay will
automatically terminate, and Sienkaniec may proceed ...