An attorney who calls himself the “Annoyance Lawyer” sued Uber Technologies Inc. over its robocall campaign attacking New York Mayor Bill de Blasio over his proposal to limit the number of drivers.
Todd C. Bank sued on behalf of recipients of thousands of recorded calls the ride-hailing company made during the campaign telling city residents “we need your help” to defeat the proposal, he said in a lawsuit.
“Uber ended the days when you couldn’t get a ride home because cabs didn’t want to leave Manhattan,” one script for the calls read, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. “Now Mayor de Blasio is trying to bring the bad old days back because his millionaire taxi donors are telling him to.”
Last month, de Blasio dropped the plan to cap the growth of the service after it ignited backlash from the public, Governor Andrew Cuomo and even model Kate Upton.
Under federal law, robocalls for commercial purposes are usually illegal unless a consumer consents to receiving them. There is an exemption for political calls, according to the FTC.
Matt Wing, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Uber, said in a statement that the company “engaged in legitimate efforts to enlist the support of New York voters, a great many of whom were opposed” to the bill.
Wing said Uber will contest the lawsuit in court.
Bank, whose office is in Queens, in New York City, handles class actions dealing with what he calls “annoyance law” issues, such as prerecorded phone calls, e-mail spam and unpaid consumer rebates, according to his website.
The case is Bank v. Uber Technologies, 1:15-cv-04858, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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