Funded Uber class action for Australian drivers gets into gear

In this judgment, his Honour determined the costs orders that should be made as a result of those rulings, and what further directions should be made.

In an earlier judgment in this matter (Andrianakis v Uber Technologies Inc (Ruling No 1) [2019] VSC 850), Macaulay J gave rulings (mostly in the plaintiff’s favour) in relation to a number of interlocutory applications which had been filed. In this judgment, his Honour determined the costs orders that should be made as a result of those rulings (again, mostly in the plaintiff’s favour), and what further directions should be made as to future steps in the proceeding.

One consequence of the earlier rulings was that the plaintiff was directed to file and serve a proposed further amended statement of claim. That was done on 28 February 2020 (28 February FASOC), but was replaced by a different version filed on 18 March 2020 (18 March FASOC). The 18 March FASOC proposed to amend the class definition so as to include a new category of class members, referred to as ‘Derivative Group Members’, being (broadly speaking) “successors and assignees of persons who, but for some event affecting their existence, would otherwise have been a group member” (at [5]).

The defendants opposed the proposed amendments to include the ‘Derivative Group Members’, on several grounds. In this judgment, his Honour refused leave to make those amendments, essentially on the basis that:

  • the amendments were raised at a late stage;
  • whether the current plaintiff is able to represent the ‘Derivative Group Members’ should have been argued at the earlier hearing;
  • it was not clear whether any alleged assignments to the ‘Derivative Group Members’ were legally valid, as no actual examples had been pleaded; and
  • … I have some difficulty understanding from the terms of the proposed amendment precisely who is to make up the new class or by what means it is to be populated” (at [24]).

His Honour therefore gave leave to the plaintiff to file the 28 February FASOC, but refused leave to file the 18 March FASOC (and otherwise left it to the plaintiff to make any further application to amend the statement of claim in due course).

Case details

Andrianakis v Uber Technologies Inc (Ruling No 2) [2020] VSC 152

  • Supreme Court of Victoria, Macaulay J, 1 April 2020
  • Plaintiff’s Solicitors: Maurice Blackburn
  • Defendants’ Solicitors: Jones Day
  • Plaintiff’s Funder: Harbour

Read more about this case on Austlii: Andrianakis v Uber Technologies Inc (Ruling No 2) [2020] VSC 152

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