When suppossed good guy rideshare company Juno was acquired by Gett for $200 million in April, we discovered that drivers—who were incentivized to join with a promise they’d be given equity—were going to receive only pennies for their shares.
Claiming that they were not treated like the shareholders they are, drivers are now fighting back with a class action lawsuit against the companies. NYC law firm Held & Hines is set to announce the suit during a press conference at 12 EST today. Ahead of the briefing, attorney Mohammed Gangat told the Observer “we think it’s going to be a long and strenuous fight.”
The suit began with three drivers, but in the last day alone, three more have reached out about joining. Gangat said he “expects an avalanche” of drivers wanting to participate after the press conference today. Juno launched last year with 6,500 drivers, but many more signed up after the initial debut. Gangat said he believes the potential class to be about 10,000 drivers.
“The idea is if had they held up their end of the contract, they could’ve paid them what they were owed and this could’ve been a simple cost. But they tried to get away with it, and we think the court will look down on it,” Gangat said. “We don’t know what every individual driver was supposed to earn, but we have an idea of what the whole class was suppossed to get.”
The lawsuit consists of several claims—including breach of contract, false advertising, fraud claims and misrepresentation of fraud claims. The damages for these would be what drivers were supposed to earn for their shares, statutory penalties plus additional compensation.
Juno has already attempted to prevent such a suit. The company tried to get drivers to sign a class action attribution agreement, where they had them waive their right to participate in any class action against the company. Immediately after the acquisition was announced, Juno also tried to get drivers to sign contracts waiving shareholder rights for a small sum, essentially saying, “if you have X shares, we’ll give you Y dollars.” That amount was $100 or so in most cases.
“We have reasons why they can’t do that and many who opted out,” Gangat said regarding the class action attribution agreements. “That will be the initial fight and there will be a lot of other litigation tactics like that to prevent the labor class from enforcing their rights.”
Gangat compared this to the widely publicized misbehavior that’s become synonymous with the rideshare industry. Case in point, he even once slipped and said “Uber” instead of “Juno.”
“Theres a real arrogance of how these rideshare and tech companies blow up. When they go up like a rocket, they leave a trail of collateral damage and misbehavior, and they are making a ton of money and just don’t care,” he said. “They think ‘let’s keep going and let’s get bigger. We can write a check later.'”