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Malden Transportation, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

June 18, 2018

Malden Transportation, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Anoush Cab, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Dot Ave Cab, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Max Luc Taxi, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Gill & Gill, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Gill & Gill, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants. Taxi Maintenance, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Uber Technologies, Inc. and Raiser, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case involves seven consolidated actions brought by various taxi medallion holders in the Greater Boston area (“plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs allege that Uber Technologies, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Raiser, LLC (“Uber” or “defendant”) competed unlawfully in the on-demand, ride-hail ground transportation market in and around Boston, Massachusetts. More particularly, plaintiffs complain that the subject competition 1) violates the common law and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, 2) violates state and federal antitrust law and 3) amounts to a civil conspiracy and the aiding and abetting of unfair competition.

         Before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss the amended antitrust claims in the Malden, Dot Ave, Max Luc and Taxi Maintenance amended complaints (Docket No. 109).

         I. Background

         Uber entered the Boston market for private transportation services in 2011 and launched its UberX service in 2013. The company provides a digital tool for requesting private vehicles-for-hire by users who download Uber's free “smart phone application” (“the Uber app”). Users who open the Uber app on their mobile phones are shown a map of their location or designated pick-up point and the available Uber-affiliated vehicles in that vicinity.

         This litigation involves seven groups of plaintiffs that represent over 800 taxi companies in the Greater Boston area.

         The seven complaints were filed in this district between December, 2016, and April, 2017. The Court consolidated the cases pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2) in October, 2017. See Malden Transportation, Inc. v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. CV 16-12538-NMG, 2017 WL 6759425 (D. Mass. Oct. 5, 2017). In December, 2017, this session ruled on Uber's consolidated motion to dismiss. See Malden Transportation, Inc. v. Uber Techs., Inc., 286 F.Supp.3d 264 (D. Mass. 2017) (“Malden I”). The Court held that plaintiffs had stated claims for 1) unfair competition under the common law and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 93A, 2) aiding and abetting unfair competition and 3) civil conspiracy to commit unfair competition. The Court allowed the defendants' motion to dismiss as to two of Uber's founders for want of personal jurisdiction and with respect to plaintiffs' antitrust, tortious interference and civil conspiracy claims. See generally id.

         After the issuance of that memorandum and order, plaintiffs amended their complaints. Four of the plaintiff groups have added additional factual allegations, which bear upon the claims of violation of state and federal antitrust law.

         Before the Court is Uber's motion to dismiss those amended antitrust claims.

         II. Analysis

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In considering the merits of a motion to dismiss, the Court may look only to the facts alleged in the pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint and matters of which judicial notice can be taken. Nollet v. Justices of Trial Court of Mass., 83 F.Supp.2d 204, 208 (D. Mass. 2000), aff'd, 248 F.3d 1127 (1st Cir. 2000). Furthermore, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Langadinos v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 199 F.3d 68, 69 (1st Cir. 2000). If the facts in the complaint are sufficient to state a cause of action, a motion to dismiss the complaint must be denied. See Nollet, 83 F.Supp.2d at 208.

         Although a court must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in a complaint, that doctrine is not applicable to legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Threadbare recitals of the legal elements which are supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice to state a cause of action. Id. Accordingly, a complaint does not state a claim for relief where the well-pled facts fail to warrant an inference of any more than the mere possibility of misconduct. Id. at 679.

1. Attempt to monopolize under the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2 and the Massachusetts Antitrust Act, M.G.L. c. 93 § 5 Plaintiffs assert claims for attempt to monopolize in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Massachusetts Antitrust Act, M.G.L. c. 93 § 5.[1]

Plaintiffs argue that Uber has attempted to drive taxi companies out of business through the use of its allegedly predatorily priced UberX service. Defendants respond that plaintiff has not met the high burden of alleging a predatory ...


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