In a development one does not see everyday, named Plaintiff Douglas O’Connor has submitted a declaration blasting the settlement reached in the litigation bearing his name: O’Connor et al. v. Uber Technologies, Case No. 3:13-cv-03826 – EMC. This new declaration comes on the heels of a stream of objections filed last week seeking to blow up the settlement and disqualify lead counsel, Shannon Liss-Riordan, by the same group of plaintiffs’ attorneys, including celebrity lawyer-Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck. In this new declaration, O’Connor states that he had no involvement in settlement discussions, was never even briefed on the settlement by his counsel, and was coerced into signing it by an associate of Liss-Riordan who led him to believe that the Court had ordered him to do so. Interestingly, although O’Connor decries the settlement for selling out and shortchanging Uber drivers, his declaration is big on inflammatory language but short on specific objections. Objections filed last week include a few more specific charges, claiming that the monetary recovery for the class is insufficient given the total theoretical damages attributable to plaintiffs’ claims and fails to resolve the “generational issue” of employee vs. independent contractor in the gig economy.
Meanwhile, Judge Chen ordered Liss-Riordan to submit supplemental briefing addressing a number of questions posed by the judge, principally focusing on how the monies would be distributed and the extent of the preclusive effect of the settlement on claims in other cases against Uber. The preliminary approval hearing for the settlement is currently set for June 2, 2016.