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7 min read

    7 min read

    Recently, some drivers who signed up for the Cotter vs. Lyft class action settlement received compensation from the result of the class action lawsuit. For many of us, it was a surprise (although a good one). Senior RSG contributor Christian Perea gives us an update on this lawsuit, who it applies to, and an update on future lawsuits. If you haven’t already, click here to sign up to drive for lyft.


    Lyft Lawsuit Has Been Settled

    On Wednesday, many old-school Lyft drivers in California woke up to an extra $10 to $6,900 in their bank accounts! But we had no idea what it was for and that it was a payout for the Cotter case.  The email announcing it (along with details) came a few hours later.

    doordash
    Lyft Lawsuit Settlement Payout

    Lyft Lawsuit Settlement Payout

    Personally, I got $2,420.42 and it was a nice thing to wake up to on a Wednesday morning! You won’t be getting any money if you’re outside of CA but the high payout may be a good reason to participate in future claims in your state as there are no shortage of class action lawsuits against these companies right now.

    Lyft Settlement Payout

    Lyft Settlement Payout

    I guess I owe Cotter a beer…

    But I actually think they might owe me more 😀

    Related: 2017 Rideshare Lawsuit Roundup

    Cotter vs. Lyft Lawsuit – What Is It?

    Basically, this lawsuit claims Lyft improperly classified drivers who gave rides in California as “independent contractors” vs. employees and, as the result of this classification, Lyft violated various laws and regulations. Lyft’s argument is that it complied with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations at all times.

    The Lyft version of this lawsuit reached a settlement last year, where Lyft agreed to pay out damages to drivers based on how much they drove while also granting certain concessions to drivers around driver deactivation, acceptance rates, and other things.

    Lyft denied the allegations but agreed to settle for $27 million. In addition to the settlement, Lyft also agreed to do the following: (and they’re already in violation of the agreement!)

    1. (pretty sure this isn’t done) Lyft will tell us reasons why we may be deactivated as drivers.
    2. Lyft will pay for arbitration costs to resolve dispute between themselves and drivers.
    3. Lyft will create a process to resolve things without going through arbitration.
    4. (not done) Lyft will create a “favorite driver” option.
    5. (not done) Lyft will change their app to provide drivers with more information about passengers before the driver accepts the ride.

    If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Lyft has actually started to tell us much less information about our requests before we accept them. I can’t even see where the request is coming from now!

    👉Related article: Essential gear for rideshare drivers

    How Can I Get Money from The Lyft Payout?

    First, if you didn’t submit a claim it’s not too late. You must meet the following conditions first:

    1. You were a Lyft driver in California.
    2. You gave a Lyft ride in California between May 5th 2012 and July 1st 2016.

    If you meet those two conditions then you should go submit a claim immediately!

    You can submit that claim here.

    Don’t be scared: It is against the law for Lyft to deactivate or punish you from submitting a claim. They also don’t care if you submit a claim. They’re just happy this is behind them.

    Drivers who submitted a valid claim by January 19, 2018 were issued payments on March 21, 2018. If you submit after that date, you still should get your money if your claim was valid, but it may take a little longer.

    How Much Will I Get If I Qualify for the Lyft Settlement?

    It depends on how much you drove between 2012 and 2016 and whether or not you were a full-time driver. Most part-timers should see between $100 and $500 whereas full-time drivers can see anywhere from $1000 to $7000.

    Largest Lyft Settlement Payout

    One of the Largest Lyft Settlement Payouts

    According to Class Action Rebates, payment is based on a points system:

    The points are calculated as follows:

    • For each Ride given in the period from May 25, 2012, through September 30, 2012, the Class Member will receive two hundred twenty seven (227) Points.
    • For each sixty-minute period in Ride Mode for the period from October 1, 2012, through July 1, 2016, the Class Member will receive six hundred (600) Points.
    • For each sixty-minute period in Ride Mode for the period from January 14, 2013, through December 23, 2013, a Class Member will receive an additional one hundred twenty (120) Points.
    • For each Class Member who spent thirty (30) or more hours per week in Ride Mode in fifty (50) percent or more of the weeks in the period from May 25, 2012, through July 1, 2016, in which he or she gave at least one Ride, the points calculated above will be multiplied by 2, so that the Class Member receives double the number of Points than would otherwise be awarded.”

    Here’s an example of what I got based on this points system:

    I’m not exactly satisfied with this explanation though because it only really told me how the points were calculated, how many points I got, and how much I was getting. I would have preferred a breakdown of the points and a report telling me what numbers Lyft had.

    It wouldn’t be the first (or fiftieth) time they messed up the number of hours I worked!

    I also suspect I may have qualified for the full-time “doubling” of points so I plan to login to Lyft and look up how many hours I was in driver mode from July of 2014 through 2016 and double-check. One of the frustrating parts of this award is that it doesn’t tell you what Lyft has on record for the point calculations.

    Upcoming Rideshare Lawsuits

    Dulberg vs. Uber – Breach of contract lawsuit recently approved – “A class-action lawsuit alleging that Uber stiffed its drivers of fare money has received class certification, paving the way for the lawsuit to include thousands of drivers nationwide who did not sign an arbitration agreement with the San Francisco company.

    The breach of contract lawsuit, filed in May in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleges that when Uber implemented a feature called “upfront pricing” in August 2016, it didn’t pay drivers their fair share.”

    There are a number of individual personal injury cases for rideshare drivers that we’ve also been following.  If you get into an accident while rideshare driving, you may be eligible for lost wages, medical bills and more!  We recommend speaking with Bryant Greening, an attorney at LegalRideshare – (312) 767-2222.  And you can also head over to our new Uber Accident Lawyer page to learn more.

    Lyft Lawsuit FAQ

    Which lawsuit was this payout for?

    Cotter vs. Lyft, a class action lawsuit alleging Lyft drivers are actually employees instead of contractors and are thus owed money as if they were employees.

    Who/What The Heck is Cotter?

    Cotter is Patrick Cotter, who brought forward the case, plus Alejandra Maciel and Jeffrey Knudson, who served as class representatives and also helped to bring the case.

    Who received money from Cotter vs. Lyft?

    Lyft drivers who put in a claim who live in California and drove sometime between May 25th 2012 and July 1st 2016.

    Can I still submit a claim?

    Yes, you can do so here.

    What happens if I don’t do anything?

    You won’t get any money from the settlement.

    Can Lyft Punish Me For Filing A Claim?

    No. It’s against the law and beyond that they probably expect you to file a claim anyways.


    Readers, did you receive money from this settlement or have more questions about it? Let us know in the comments!

    Click here to sign up to drive for Lyft and Uber

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    -Christian @ RSG

    Christian Perea

    Christian Perea

    In 2014, Christian left his job at a mental health center to drive full time for Lyft and Uber. Since then, he has driven for mostly Lyft with a little bit of Sidecar and Postmates thrown in for experimentation and Uber when he doesn't feel like talking to people. He likes to talk about Politics and Economics over a good beer to whoever will listen to him.