Uber Seeks to Suppress Public Records on Eve of Seattle City Council Vote
On the eve of a Seattle City Council vote that could grant collective bargaining rights to Uber drivers, Uber has sued King County and Seattle law firm Keller Rohrback L.L.P. to try to block a public records request for the number of licensed Uber drivers in Seattle. The Seattle City Council is scheduled to consider the question of collective bargaining at its upcoming December 14, 2015 meeting.
In a November public records request to King County, Keller Rohrback requested the “number of licenses that have been issued to Uber drivers in the City of Seattle.” No personal information or other information regarding the Uber drivers was requested; only the number of licenses issued.
On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, Uber went to King County Superior Court and filed a complaint against King County, Keller Rohrback, and Keller Rohrback attorney David Copley seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO), a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction barring the release of King County’s public records. The lawsuit, brought in the name of Uber’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Raiser, LLC, argued that the number of licenses issued by King County is Uber’s “trade secret.” The court granted Uber’s TRO request, temporarily blocking the release of King County’s public records.
“We will not back down on our request,” said Keller Rohrback attorney David Copley, who sought the public records held by King County. “This is clearly information that the public and elected officials have a right to know, and is important in the greater discussion over how Uber’s business model impacts employees, consumers, and our community.”
National, state and local officials are rushing to catch up with Uber’s business model, which blurs the line between a traditional employer/employee relationship and an independent contractor approach. Although Uber is an increasingly important part of the transportation industry, its lack of transparency is troubling to many.
Read the complaint here: Uber Complaint for Injunctive Relief