Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Reject Uber’s Terms and Conditions

Posted by Stacey L. Pietrowicz

Meet Stacey

Stacey brings meticulous attention to detail to every type of case, with consistently outstanding results. Although the youngest partner at SUGARMAN, Stacey routinely handles some of the firm's most sophisticated cases and has been recognized in Massachusetts Super Lawyers every year since 2013. Meet Stacey

T

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled on Kauders v. Uber Technologies Inc. on January 4. The SJC concluded that Uber’s registration process does not provide a clear notice of its terms and conditions. It also isn’t clear on mutual consent to the terms. 

This case was filed in 2016 by Christopher Kauders. In 2014, Mr. Kauders created an Uber account in three simple steps: he (1) entered an email address, telephone, and phone number to set up the account; (2) entered his name and photo to set up the profile; and (3) entered his payment information. On the third step, there was a sentence at the bottom of the screen that wrote, “By creating an Uber account, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.” The second part of that sentence, “…Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy,” was in a rectangular box in bold font. However, Mr. Kauders was not required to click or review the terms in order to complete the profile. He simply clicked “Done,” and the process was complete. At no point did Mr. Kauders view the Terms & Conditions or click “I agree.” 

Mr. Kauders was rejected by several Uber drivers because he was blind and accompanied by a guide dog. He brought suit against Uber alleging discrimination. Uber claimed that because Mr. Kauders agreed to their Terms & Conditions when he created his account, that he had to arbitrate his claims. The SJC ruled in favor of Mr. Kauders. The court noted the terms would be legally enforceable if Uber had required users to review the Terms & Conditions in full and agree before registering. 

The SJC’s decision means technology companies must meet very clear standards. It is no longer acceptable to impose one-sided terms with users over a smartphone app. Reasonable notice and reasonable manifestation of assent are required – neither of which Uber’s registration process met. 

If you believe you have a personal injury claim involving Uber, you should talk with an experienced attorney.  SUGARMAN’s personal injury attorneys have experience in personal injury cases involving ride share services. Call us at 617-542-1000, email info@sugarman.com, or fill out a Contact Form.