Golden Gate University Law Review


Spencer Sellers


This case note analyzes Capriole v. Uber Techs., Inc., 460 F. Supp. 3d 919 (N.D. Cal. 2020) aff’d, 7 F.4th 854 (9th Cir. 2021), a case wherein the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that rideshare drivers who are employed as independent contractors do not qualify as interstate commerce workers within the meaning of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Those who qualify as interstate commerce workers are exempt from certain arbitration requirements under the FAA. Because the court found that rideshare drivers do not qualify for this classification, rideshare drivers who want to complain about certain aspects of their employment contracts with Uber—such as low pay and the absence of a requirement that Uber pay minimum wage—must arbitrate their claims according to the terms of their employment contracts. The court’s decision relied principally upon United States v. Yellow Cab Co, a 1947 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that taxicabs that occasionally transport passengers to and from railroad stations only engage in “casual and incidental” interstate commerce insufficient to qualify for the FAA exemption. However, courts in other jurisdictions have come to the contrary conclusion that drivers do qualify for the interstate commerce worker exemption. This Note argues that the court split should be resolved, optimally through the federal legislature.