NEW ORLEANS –– Mega ride share service Uber will face a group of Louisiana taxi drivers in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, a federal judge ruled July 12.
Judge Lance Africk of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the taxi drivers' request to remand back to the lower court where Uber will face claims of "unfair competition under the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practice Act (LUTPA).
The taxi drivers allege Uber is "conspiring to systematically and consistently flout several municipal and state laws designed to level the playing field between traditional taxi services and peer-to-peer ride sharing providers," according to court documents.
Africk ruled the taxi drivers have a valid claim against Uber.
The case had been removed to federal court by Uber earlier this year. Uber argued that the taxi drivers and the individual Uber driver defendants are not diverse, "as they are all citizens of Louisiana." The court concluded that the individual Uber drivers were in fact diverse under the federal standard.
The judge declined to split each individual Uber driver in the case.
"Severance in this case is unnecessary," Africk wrote. "In fact, it would likely be counterproductive. Severing the non-diverse individual Uber drivers would result in the taxi simultaneously pursuing the exact same claims in state and federal court."
Uber has been under legal fire in recent years over allegations of wage law violations and sexual assault. In April, a California Supreme court ruled in a landmark decision that changed the rule for independent contractor status. The company is also being accused of gender discrimination in a federal probe.