Maurice Blackburn filed the proceeding in late May and they had a couple of procedural case management hearings in late May/early June. Those hearings focused on timetabling and service, with the Judge making orders requiring Uber to file any application seeking strike out by mid-July, or if no application was made, to file their defense by mid-August. The judge also made orders confirming informal service on the foreign Uber entities.
In late July Uber filed their statement seeking to strike out our statement of claim. This was to be expected, given Uber’s obstructive litigation strategy and it did not alter Maurice Blackburn’s view of the merits or prospects of the case. A hearing regarding the strike out application (along with a dispute as to security) was heard in early September over two days with the judgment reserved. This decision was handed down by the Judge on 20 December 2019.
The facts are, that Uber attempted to have the Class Action against them struck out, the Judge rejected this.
Uber also tried to reduce the size of the action and attempted to limit the case to Victoria only, the judge also rejected this.
The Judge also ordered the plaintiff (Maurice Blackburn acting for registrants) to redraft some of the pleadings to be more clearer in some parts of the case. Maurice Blackburn is confident of meeting this requirement promptly.
None of this has come as a surprise and the case is proceeding as expected. We are very happy how the case is being managed by the Maurice Blackburn team. We have the biggest and most successful class action law firm in Australia, doing their best for the taxi and hire car industries, funded by Harbour Litigation. They are one of the major funders of legal action globally, and have committed in excess of 20 million dollars to fund this case. There is no financial risk to any registrants!
Maurice Blackburn lawyers are now advancing their preparation for the latter stages of the case with particular focus given to the issue of loss. Given the size of the class it would be impractical and inefficient to contact each group member to ascertain their losses. Instead, the lawyers are conducting a sampling exercise – a process which has been previously used in the bushfires and floods class action. This process involves working with expert statisticians to generate a sample set of group members, whose losses are individually assessed by expert accountants. Based on that analysis, a statistically defensible estimate of the losses for the class can be produced. A sample group has been selected and the expert accountants are currently contacting and collecting information from sample group members.
For those who have not yet joined the class action you may still do so at the Maurice Blackburn website – www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/class-actions/current-class-actions/uber-class-action/
Updated 7 January 2020