U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Seattle, No. 17-35640 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging Ordinance 124968, which permits independent-contractor drivers, represented by an entity denominated an "exclusive driver representative," and driver coordinators to agree on the "nature and amount of payments to be made by, or withheld from, the driver coordinator to or by the drivers." The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's federal antitrust claims because the ordinance sanctions price-fixing of ride-referral service fees by private cartels of independent-contractor drivers. The panel held that the State-action immunity doctrine did not exempt the ordinance from preemption by the Sherman Act because the State of Washington had not clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed a state policy authorizing private parties to price-fix the fees that for-hire drivers pay to companies like Uber or Lyft in exchange for ride-referral services. Furthermore, the active-supervision requirement for state-action immunity applied, and was not met. The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's National Labor Relations Act preemption claims.
Court Description: Antitrust / Labor Law The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s dismissal of an action challenging, on federal antitrust and labor law grounds, a Seattle ordinance authorizing a collective-bargaining process between “driver coordinators”—like Uber Technologies; Lyft, Inc.; and Eastside for Hire, Inc. —and independent contractors who work as for-hire drivers. The ordinance permits independent-contractor drivers, represented by an entity denominated an “exclusive driver representative,” and driver coordinators to agree on the “nature and amount of payments to be made by, or withheld from, the driver coordinator to or by the drivers.” The panel reversed the district court’s dismissal of claims that the ordinance violates, and is preempted by, § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act because the ordinance