Marty Mattes Comments on CPUC Battle with Uber

12.23.2020
Bloomberg Law

Marty Mattes was quoted in the Bloomberg Law story, “Uber’s Battle of Wills With California Doesn’t End With Prop 22.” The article provides an overview of how the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) threat to suspend Uber Technologies Inc.’s operating license and impose a major fine demonstrates that California does not want to relinquish oversight in this area, despite voters approving a hands-off approach to regulation of the business operations of gig employers.

Uber and the CPUC are at odds over a CPUC administrative law judge’s order instructing Uber to turn over information on witnesses to alleged incidents of sexual harassment and assault and to identify the author of Uber’s safety findings on the issue. The order would fine Uber $59 million and pull its license if it doesn’t comply by January 13, 2021.

Commenting on the matter, Marty said, “[C]PUC likes to come up against a big company. They’re not going to be intimidated particularly by Uber because Uber is not in a favorable state from a political point of view." While Uber succeeded in overturning state labor law, "that shows a lot of political clout. But on the other hand, it doesn’t endear them to the other political forces in the state.”

Uber can still ask the full CPUC to review the order and then seek judicial review. “Uber can seek review in the Court of Appeal or California Supreme Court,” Marty added, “although appellate courts are more willing to accept cases for review than the state high court.”

He closed by saying the CPUC “reacts very badly to challenges against their authority and has powerful tools to impose compliance.”

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