Uber Hit with Securities Complaint Over Alleged Misconduct Exposed in ‘Uber Files’

A newly filed putative class-action lawsuit claims that Uber has not been honest with its shareholders or the public per recently leaked documents dubbed the “Uber Files,” which detail behavior that apparently caused the ride-hailing company’s share price to falter last month. Alleged misconduct included claims of secretive lobbying and corruption with foreign governments, as well as risking driver safety at the expense of company growth.

Monday’s complaint opens that “Uber has long been plagued by scandal.” It explains how in response to “years of negative publicity,” Uber made reforms including swapping out top management, overhauling its corporate culture, and “tout[ing] itself as a new company that had atoned for its prior compliance and cultural issues.”

Yet the filing claims that Uber has not come totally clean. According to reports by major news outlets who uncovered a cache of 124,000 internal Uber records spanning from 2013 to 2017, the company made false and misleading statements about a range of aspects about its business and its disclosure controls and procedures.

For example, the complaint points to a 2014 email from Uber’s head of global communications written during efforts to shut down the ride hailing service in Thailand and India that reportedly stated “[s]ometimes we have problems because, well, we’re just [expletive] illegal.” 

The filing concludes that “Uber concealed and/or downplayed the full scope and severity of its prior misconduct, including, inter alia, the extent to which it secretly lobbied government officials and politicians to bypass legal and regulatory requirements, as well as knowingly risked the safety of Uber drivers, to fuel the Company’s global growth.” Uber also kept secret lobbying efforts to bypass legal and regulatory requirements quiet, the filing said, as well as risking driver safety to feed its bottom line.

After the “Uber Files” disclosure on July 11, 2022, the stock fell $1.15 per share, or 5.15%, to close at $21.19 per share. The complaint seeks to certify a class of shareholders who bought or otherwise acquired Uber shares between May 31, 2019 and July 8, 2022 and who lost money as a result of the company’s alleged misconduct.  

The named-plaintiff shareholder is represented by Pomerantz LLP.