United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
CHRISTOPHER P. KAUDERS, LEE C. S. KAUDERS, and HANNAH KAUDERS, Plaintiffs,
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., and RASIER LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a claim for disability discrimination arising out of the
alleged refusal of certain Uber drivers to permit a guide dog
to accompany a visually-impaired rider. The matter was filed
in state court and removed to this Court on the basis of
diversity of citizenship.
have moved to remand on the ground that diversity has not
been established. For the following reasons, the motion will
Kauders, a Massachusetts resident, is legally blind. (Compl.
¶¶ 1, 6). He uses a guide dog for assistance and his
impaired vision prevents him from qualifying for a
driver's license. (Id. ¶ 6).
Technologies, Inc., is an online transportation network
company with a mobile software application for smartphones
that enables customers to submit trip requests for
transportation in Uber vehicles. (Id. ¶¶
4, 8). Rasier LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber.
(Id. ¶ 5).
to the complaint, Kauders frequently relies on Uber to
travel, including for work purposes. (Id. ¶
11). He has taken more than 100 rides with Uber drivers since
opening an account with the company in 2014. (Id.
¶¶ 13, 15). His guide dog accompanied him on
approximately half of those rides. (Id. ¶ 17).
complaint alleges that on three separate occasions between
the dates of August, 26, 2015, and March 25, 2016, Kauders
was denied service by Uber when its drivers refused to allow
his guide dog into their vehicles. (Id. ¶ 9).
His wife Lee and daughter Hannah witnessed one of those
occasions. (Id. ¶ 33). According to the
complaint, Kauders, his wife, and his daughter have all
suffered significant emotional distress as a result of the
alleged discrimination. (Id. ¶¶ 45-49).
February 2, 2016, Kauders filed a complaint against Uber with
the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
(“MCAD”). (Id. ¶ 50). Of February
22, 2016, the MCAD issued a letter to Kauders informing him
that he had exhausted his administrative remedies and could
file a civil suit. (Id. ¶ 51 & Ex. B).
April 28, 2016, plaintiffs served a demand letter on Uber
pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, § 9. (Id.
¶ 66). After receiving an extension to the 30-day
response deadline, Uber responded on June 15, 2016, denying
any liability and stating that plaintiffs' allegations
failed to demonstrate that Uber's policies and procedures
were unlawful. (Id. ¶ 67).
12, 2016, Kauders filed a complaint in Massachusetts state
court asserting claims against Uber and Rasier for the
violation of Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, Mass.
Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 98A (Count 1); the intentional
infliction of emotional distress on behalf of Kauders himself
(Count 2), as well as on behalf of Lee and Hannah Kauders
(Count 3); and the violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A
August 15, 2016, defendants removed the action to this Court
on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Defendants'
notice of removal stated that plaintiffs are Massachusetts
residents, and that defendant Uber is a Delaware corporation
with a principal place of business in California. It is also
alleged that and defendant “Rasier, LLC, is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Uber” and that Rasier “is a
foreign limited liability company organized under the laws of
the state of Delaware with its principal place of business in
San Francisco, California.” (Notice of Removal at 2).
The notice of removal said nothing about the members of
Rasier or their citizenship.
August 25, 2016, plaintiffs filed a motion to remand,
contending that defendants had failed to adequately establish
diversity of citizenship and that they had failed to attach
the summons served on Uber to their notice of removal. For
the reasons stated below, that motion will be denied.