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Fambrough v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

June 7, 2019

WILLIAM L. FAMBROUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

          GREG KAYS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This lawsuit arises from Defendant Uber Technologies, Inc.'s (“Uber”) decision to deactivate pro se Plaintiff William L. Fambrough's driving account, a decision which meant Plaintiff could no longer drive for Uber.

         Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief (Doc. 3) which the Court construes as a motion for a temporary restraining order. Plaintiff asks the Court to order Uber to reactivate his driver account immediately.

         After carefully reviewing the motion and the existing record, the Court holds Plaintiff has not met his burden of proof for the Court to issue a temporary restraining order.

         Background

         Read liberally, the Complaint (Doc. 1-1) alleges Uber terminated Plaintiff's driver account solely as the result of using a facial recognition application that has difficulty recognizing black skin such as Plaintiff has. This software wrongly reported that Plaintiff was using someone else's photo for verification, which led to Uber deactivating Plaintiff's driving account. Thus, Plaintiff claims the deactivation was based on the color of his skin, and not on just cause as required by the parties' agreement.[1]

         Standard for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order

         In determining whether to grant a temporary restraining order the Court considers: (1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the balance between this harm and any injury that granting the injunction will inflict on the non-moving party; (3) the likelihood that the moving party will prevail on the merits; and (4) the public interest. Phelps-Roper v. Nixon, 509 F.3d 480, 484 (8th Cir. 2007). No. single factor is determinative; they must be “balanced to determine whether they tilt towards or away” from granting the injunction. Noodles Development, LP. v. Ninth Street Partners, LLP, 507 F.Supp.2d 1030, 1034 (E.D. Mo. 2007). A temporary restraining order “is an ‘extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.'” North Dakota v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 264 F.Supp.2d 871, 878 (N.D. 2003) (quoting Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)).

         Discussion

         A. Plaintiff has not demonstrated a threat of irreparable harm.

         To demonstrate a sufficient threat of irreparable harm, the moving party must show that there is no adequate remedy at law; that is, that an award of damages cannot compensate the movant for the harm. See Noodles Development, 507 F.Supp.2d at 1036-37. In this case, it appears an award of damages could fully compensate Plaintiff for any loss he has suffered. Although Plaintiff cannot drive for Uber in the interim without the injunctive relief he seeks, an award of monetary damages could compensate him for this harm. Thus, there is no threat of irreparable harm.

         B. Plaintiff has shown that the balance of harms favors issuing a TRO.

         Plaintiff argue that without injunctive relief, he will suffer substantial harm because he is virtually broke and needs the income he earns from driving for Uber to pay his bills. Plaintiff claims Uber will not suffer any harm if the injunction is granted; in fact, it will benefit, because it ...


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