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Ortega v. Uber Technologies Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 7, 2017

JOSE ORTEGA and JOCE MARTINEZ, on their own behalf, and on behalf of those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES INC., RASDER, LLC, UBER USA LLC, UBER NEW YORK LLC, UBER TRANSPORTATION LLC, and JOHN DOE "UBER AFFILIATES, " Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS, United States District Judge.

         On March 7, 2017, [1] the court issued a Memorandum and Order granting Defendants' motion to compel arbitration as to all claims brought by Plaintiff Joce Martinez and granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion to dismiss claims brought by Plaintiff Jose Ortega. (Mar. 7, 2017, Mem. & Order ("Mem. & Order") (Dkt. 42).) On March 22, 2017, Plaintiffs moved for "reconsideration and/or clarification" of two parts of the court's decision. (See Mot. for Recons. ("Pls. Mot.") (Dkt. 44).) For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts and procedural history of the case and so limits its discussion to the background relevant to the present motions. Plaintiffs brought this action in December 2011, alleging among other claims that Defendants (referred to collectively as "Uber") induced Plaintiffs (and other drivers) through false advertisements to drive for Uber (see Am. Compl. (Dkt. 16) ¶¶ 144-153) and breached its contracts (sometimes referred to as "service agreements") with Plaintiffs by, among other things, inflating the "service fee" charged to drivers (id at 132-33). Uber moved to dismiss all of Plaintiffs' claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Mot. to Dismiss (Dkt. 22).) Uber separately moved to compel individual arbitration as to all of Martinez's claims on the basis of an arbitration provision contained within the operative service agreement. (See generally Defs. Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Compel Arbitration (Dkt. 20).)

         In its March 7, 2017, Memorandum and Order, the court agreed with Uber that Martinez had agreed not only to arbitrate his claims against Uber but also to "submit to an arbitrator any disputes relating to the interpretation or application of the arbitral clause." (See Mem. & Order at 17.) The court also concluded that Ortega had not made out a sufficient claim for breach of contract. (See id. at 39-41.) Accordingly, the court dismissed Ortega's breach of contract claim (among other claims) and held that Martinez was compelled to submit all of his claims to arbitration. (Id. at 48.)

         On March 22, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the present motion for reconsideration. (See generally Pls. Mot.) Defendants submitted their opposition on April 29, 2017. (Defs. Opp'n to Pls. Mot. (Dkt. 49).)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Local Rule 6.3, a party may move for reconsideration of a previously issued order by filing a notice of motion and memorandum identifying "the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the Court has overlooked." Local Civ. R. 6.3. The standard for a motion for reconsideration is "strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Schrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). Parties moving for reconsideration must generally show "an intervening change in controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov. Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust 729 F.3d 99, 104 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "A party seeking reconsideration may neither repeat arguments already briefed, considered and decided nor advance new facts, issues or arguments not previously presented to the Court." Schoolcraft v. City of N.Y., - F.Supp.3d -, No. 10-CV-6005 (RWS), 2017 WL 1194703, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2017) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "It is within the sound discretion of the district court whether or not to grant a motion for reconsideration." Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Linhart No. 1 l-CV-5094 (SJF) (GRB), 2012 WL 5879107, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 16, 2012).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs ask the court to reconsider its determinations that (1) Martinez's false advertising claim is subject to arbitration under his contract with Uber; and (2) Ortega failed to state a claim for breach of contract. The court examines the requests for reconsideration separately and concludes that Plaintiffs fail to provide a sufficient basis to merit revising the prior order.

         A. Arbitrability of Martinez's False Advertising Claim

         At the heart of Martinez's motion is his argument that a contract's arbitration provisions cannot be extended to cover disputes that arose prior to contracting. (See Pls. Mot. at 1.) He raised this argument in his opposition to Uber's motion to compel (see Pls. Mem. in Opp'n to Mot. to Compel (Dkt. 25) at 23-24), and correctly notes that the court did not directly address this point in its decision (Pls. Mot. at 2-3). Pointing to the language of the relevant arbitration provision, which states that it "applies to all disputes between [the driver] and Uber" (Ex. F to Decl. in Supp. of Mot. to Compel ("Dec. 2015 Agreement") (Dkt. 21-6) § 15.3(i)), Martinez argues that he could not have agreed to arbitrate his false advertising claims, as they predate his agreement to arbitrate (Pls. Mot. at 2).

         The court's previous opinion concluded not only that Martinez agreed to arbitrate his claims against Uber but also that he agreed to delegate the question of arbitrability itself to the arbitrator. (Mem. & Order at 16-20.) In other words, Martinez agreed that the arbitrator should decide "(1) whether there exists a valid agreement to arbitrate at all under the contract in question... and if so, (2) whether the particular dispute sought to be arbitrated falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement." See Hartford Ace. & Indem. Co. v. Swiss Reins. Am. Corp., 246 F.3d 219, 226 (2d Cir. 2001) (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Guan v. Uber Techs. Inc.. - F.Supp.3d - No. 16-CV-598 (PKC) (CLP), 2017 WL 744564, at *10 (E.D.N.Y.Feb. 23, 2017) (discussing the scope of delegation under the same arbitration provision considered here). Whether Martinez's false advertising claims fall inside the scope of the claims covered by the arbitration clause is thus squarely within the realm of decisions that Martinez ...


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