43 W. St. U. L. Rev. 329 (2015-2016)
Cotter v. Lyft, Inc., 60 F. Supp. 3d 1067 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/wsulr43 and id is 345 raw text is: 



                         Cotter v. Lyft, Inc.,

                  60   F.  Supp. 3d 1067 (2015).

    Opinion  by  Honorable  Vince  Chhabira,  United  States District Judge.
                             OVERARCHING ISSUE

        Whether  Lyft  drivers are independent  contractors or employees   under
California law.

                            STATEMENT OF FACTS

        Lyft Operates a smartphone application (app), through which passengers are
matched  with nearby drivers who are available to transport people in their personal
automobiles. At  the time this suit was filed, Lyft marketed itself as a ride service
from, Your  friend with a car.' Lyft cars are easily recognizable because Lyft
provides some of its drivers with a Carstache (big fuzzy pink mustache) to attach to
the front of the car when giving Lyfts.2 To become a Lyft driver, a person must
download  the app, submit his car for inspection, undergo some form of background
check, and submit to an in-person interview.3 To be a rider a person must simply
download  the app  onto her smartphone  and register her credit card information.4
When  the rider uses the app to hail a ride, the nearest driver can then accept, decline or
ignore the ride request. If the driver accepts the ride, he is matched with the rider and
generally proceeds to pick her up and drive her to her destination. However, the driver
is free to cancel his acceptance before picking up the rider.'
        During the time the Plaintiffs all drove for Lyft, the app operated on a
donation system where  it would recommend   a price to the rider, the rider could
accept it, pay less, pay nothing, or ignore it and eventually be charged Lyft's full
recommended   donation  amount  (Lyft has since changed  in California and other
markets  to charge  all riders a minimum    fare).6 Lyft retained a  20  percent
administrative fee from each charge and paid the remainder to the driver, with the
driver receiving payment from Lyft on a weekly basis for all rides given during that
week.7
        Lyft uses projected demand to determine how many drivers it will allow to log
onto the app in driver mode at any one time.8 Lyft has three options for drivers to
drive during certain times: (1) drivers could submit requests for particular hours one
week  in advance and Lyft would approve some or all of these hours; (2) if it was less

1.   Cotter v. Lyft, Inc., 60 F. Supp. 3d 1070, 1069 (2015).
2.   Id.
3.   Id.
4.   Id.
5.   Id.
6.   Id.
7.   Cotter, 60 F. Supp. 3d at 1071.
8.   Id.

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