United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER.
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Uber Technologies,
Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 25], Plaintiffs
oppose the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion is granted.
brought this action in the Circuit Court for the County of
St. Louis, Missouri on November 12, 2015. Pursuant to the
Court's diversity of citizenship jurisdiction, Defendants
timely removed the action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441,
1446. On October 29, 2016, the Court dismissed
Plaintiff's Petition for failure to state a claim. The
Court allowed Plaintiffs to file an Amended Complaint,
“consistent with the rulings” contained in the
Opinion. Plaintiffs filed their Amended Complaint on October
21, 2016. Defendant now moves to dismiss the Amended
Amended Complaint alleges the following: Uber developed and
operates a software system that allows passengers with Uber
accounts to request rides from drivers. These drivers are
classified by Uber as independent contractors. Customer
payments are processed automatically through Uber's
system at the time a ride is requested. Uber takes a
percentage of the payment, normally 20%, and passes the
balance of the payment to the driver.
Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (the “MTC”)
regulates taxicabs, their drivers, and taxicab companies
operating in St. Louis City and County. The MTC is organized
and exists under Section 67.1800, et seq., RSMo. The MTC was
created to recognize taxicab service as a public
transportation system, improve the quality of the system, and
exercise primary authority over licensing, controlling, and
regulating taxicab services within St. Louis City and County.
The MTC is authorized to license, supervise, and regulate any
person who engages in the business of transporting passengers
for hire, and is required by statute to establish
administrative procedures for granting, denying, suspending,
or revoking taxicab licenses. These procedures are stated in
the MTC's Vehicle For Hire Code (“Taxi
the Taxi Code, individuals may not operate a taxicab in St.
Louis City or County without first obtaining an MTC
driver's license. To obtain an MTC driver's license,
a person must comply with certain requirements, including: a.
being in possession of a valid Class E chauffeur's
license issued by the State of Missouri; and b. submitting to
fingerprint identification as required by Section 67.1819,
RSMo. Plaintiffs and all members of the putative class have
complied with all MTC taxicab driver's license
requirements, are in good standing with the MTC, and possess
valid MTC taxicab driver's licenses.
voted September 18, 2015 to allow Uber to operate in St.
Louis City and County. The MTC directed, however, that Uber
drivers be fingerprinted and possess a Class E Missouri
chauffeur's license, the same as all other taxicab
with intentional and contemptuous disregard for the MTC's
authority and rules, and in disregard of the requirements
that taxicab companies must comply with to operate taxicab
services in St. Louis City and County, launched its services
in St. Louis City and County on September 18, 2015 using
drivers who do not comply with the Taxi Code's licensing
requirements for taxicab drivers.
service is functionally and legally indistinguishable from
the incumbent taxicab services in St. Louis City and County,
and Uber's drivers are functionally and legally
indistinguishable from the plaintiff taxicab drivers. Uber
and the incumbent taxicab services each provide a
vehicle-for-hire service to the public, not operating on a
regular route or between fixed terminals. Uber drivers and
the plaintiff taxicab drivers work as independent contractors
transporting passengers assigned them by the company for a
fare set by the company between the locations directed by the
passengers. Uber drivers and the plaintiff taxicab drivers
each pay a fee to the company for which they work in exchange
for the company's contribution to the driver's
entry into the taxicab business in St. Louis City and County
was unlawful and in violation of the MTC's rules and the
Taxi Code. Since Uber's unlawful entry into the St. Louis
City and County taxicab market, plaintiffs and members of the
putative Class have experienced decreases in revenue of
30-40% compared to the comparable time period in 2014
resulting from a decrease in passenger calls. Passenger calls
and revenue decreases began on or about September 18, 2015
and were directly caused by Uber's unlawful entry into
the St. Louis City and County taxicab market. Uber has
admitted that during its first weekend of operations in St.
Louis City and County, it provided passengers more than 5,
000 rides. A significant portion of those rides would have
gone to plaintiffs and the class but for Uber's unlawful
entry into the St. Louis City and County taxicab market.
Based on historical trends and the regular course of prior
dealings between taxicab drivers and passengers within the
St. Louis City and County taxicab market, plaintiffs and the
members of the putative class have a reasonable expectation
before Uber entered the St. Louis County and the City of St.
Louis market that they would continue to see a consistent
usage of taxicab services by the traveling public, subject to
long-term trends in the economy and punctuated by short-term
increases and decreases in ride demand caused by various
and the members of the putative class collectively had valid
and reasonable expectations of future business relationships
with current and prospective taxicab passengers collectively
The taxicab market in St. Louis County and the City of St.
Louis consists of approximately 1, 000 MTC-licensed drivers
(based on Uber's estimate) servicing a public seeking
ride-for-hire services for trips originating in St. Louis
County and the City of St. Louis.
public seeking ride-for-hire services includes persons who
routinely use taxicabs, business visitors to St. Louis,
persons arriving at or departing via the airport, and
occasional, local users of the service. Although there are
alternative transportation options to ride-for-hire services
available in this market, such as buses, MetroLink, rental
cars, bicycles, and self-ownership or leasing of an
automobile, those alternatives are generally not readily
substitutable with ride-for-hire services. In short, for
trips for which a member of the public wishes to travel as a
passenger from a point of origination to a point of
destination of the passenger's choosing, and not between
fixed termini, without ownership of or other responsibility
for the vehicle, the choice is essentially limited to a ride
in a taxicab.
the number of taxicab trips taken in St. Louis County and the
City of St. Louis remains steady, adjusted by season, with