SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has signed off on a $32.5 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. alleging that it wrongly charged riders extra fees based on bogus claims about its safety practices.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California wrote in a 15-page order that the deal fixed “deficiencies” he identified in rejecting an earlier $28.5 million settlement of the case, including by ensuring that only riders who paid Uber’s “Safe Rides Fee” will benefit from it. The earlier settlement would have paid all Uber riders during a set time period.
The original deal would also have paid all riders equally, regardless of how many times they paid the $1 to $2 dollar fee that Uber charged on premium ride services such as UberX. “The amended settlement corrects this deficiency by compensating each class member with $0.25 for the first Safe Rides Fee he or she paid, and $0.05 for each subsequent fee,” Tigar wrote.
On average, the almost 25 million class members will receive $1.07 each from the deal, according to the filing by the attorneys for the plaintiffs. The class includes riders who paid the Safe Rides Fee in the United States or its territories between Jan. 1, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2016.
The plaintiffs are represented by West Hollywood law firm Ahdoot & Wolfson; Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos in Los Angeles; and Detroit’s Liddle & Dubin. Tigar has not yet approved an allocation of attorney fees as part of the deal, but the lawyers wrote in a motion to approve the settlement that they will seek no more than 25 percent—or roughly $8.12 million.
Uber is represented by Irell & Manella in the litigation.
The case was originally filed in 2014, and claimed Uber misled consumers by advertising the “safest ride on the road” and “industry-leading” background checks, and that it did not use the Safe Rides Fee to pay for efforts to provider a more secure ride.
Uber agreed as part of the original settlement not to use that language any more and to stop charging the fee; those elements are also included in the revised deal. Uber last year also settled related lawsuits brought by the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorney’s offices over how it touted its safety practices.