FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. F. Dennis Saylor, IV, U.S. District
Shannon Liss-Riordan, with whom Adelaide H. Pagano and
Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. were on brief, for
Michael Rubin and Altshuler Berzon LLP on brief for Labor Law
Scholars, amici curiae.
M. Tager, with whom Archis A. Parasharami, Matthew A. Waring,
and Mayer Brown LLP were on brief, for appellee.
K. Weir, Thomas R. McCarthy, Cameron T. Norris, Consovoy
McCarthy Park PLLC, Steven P. Lehotsky, Michael B. Schon, and
U.S. Chamber Litigation Center on brief for Chamber of
Commerce of the United States of America, amicus curiae.
Lynch, Circuit Judge, Souter, [*] Associate Justice, and Stahl,
case is about the enforceability of an arbitration clause
alleged to be unconscionable under Massachusetts law.
Bekele, the plaintiff, drove for Lyft, Inc., the defendant,
starting in mid-2014. Bekele tapped "I accept" on
his iPhone 4 when presented with Lyft's Terms of Service
Agreement ("TOS Agreement"), which contains a
provision requiring that all disputes between the parties be
resolved by one-on-one arbitration. Bekele later brought a
putative class action in Massachusetts Superior Court against
Lyft alleging that the company misclassifies its drivers as
independent contractors under that Commonwealth's wage
law. After removing the case to federal court, Lyft moved to
dismiss in favor of arbitration of Bekele's claim in his
individual capacity, invoking the clause in the TOS Agreement
that required arbitration and that precluded class,
collective, or representative proceedings. Concluding that
the parties had a valid and enforceable agreement to
arbitrate, the district court granted the motion and
dismissed the case in favor of individual arbitration.
See Bekele v. Lyft, Inc., 199
F.Supp.3d 284, 314 (D. Mass. 2016). We affirm.
following undisputed facts are drawn from the complaint and
the parties' submissions to the district court.
See, e.g., Justiniano v.
Soc. Sec. Admin., 876 F.3d 14, 17 (1st Cir. 2017).
operates a ride-hailing service. Customers use its
mobile-phone application ("the App") to request
rides. The App then matches each ride request with a Lyft
driver in the area.
Bekele started driving for Lyft in Boston in the summer of
2014, he downloaded the App on his iPhone 4 and completed the
registration process that Lyft requires of customers and
drivers before they use Lyft's service. When Bekele
registered, users were presented, at one step, with a screen
titled "Lyft Terms of Service," which displayed
sixteen lines of text from the TOS Agreement in grey ink on a
white background. The text explained, "[t]his following
user agreement describes the terms and conditions on which
Lyft, Inc. offers you access to the Lyft platform," and
"[t]his Agreement is a legally binding agreement made
between you . . . and Lyft, Inc." Beneath that text, a
turquoise-colored "I accept" button appeared.
Agreement's specific provisions were outlined in the text
that followed these initial sixteen lines. Users could scroll
through the entire text of the TOS Agreement on this screen,
but scrolling was not required before accepting. Tapping
"I accept" allowed the user to proceed to the next
stage of the registration process. But a user who did not
accept the terms could not finish registering. The sixth
paragraph of the agreement explained this, as well as the
process by which Lyft could modify the TOS Agreement:
IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
OF THIS AGREEMENT, PLEASE DO NOT USE OR ACCESS LYFT OR
REGISTER FOR THE SERVICES PROVIDED ON LYFT. We may amend this
Agreement at any time by posting the amended terms on the
Lyft Platform. If We post amended terms on the Lyft platform,
You may not use the Services without accepting them. Except
as stated below, all amended terms shall automatically be
effective after they are posted on the Lyft Platform. This
Agreement may not be otherwise amended except in writing
signed by You and Lyft.
arbitration clause appeared about two-thirds of the way
through the TOS Agreement. We reproduce the clause with its
original bold, ...