City asks 9th Circuit to rehear Uber case en banc

Today the City of Seattle filed a petition with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to rehear en banc the appeal of the ongoing lawsuit filed by Uber and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the city’s ordinance allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize.

Circuit court appeals are first heard by a panel of three judges. After that panel rules, a party that doesn’t like the outcome may ask the appeals court to rehear the case en banc — meaning the entire slate of 25 seated judges in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would hear, deliberate, and vote on the outcome. A majority of the judges would need to agree in order for it to be reheard en banc.

Here’s a refresher on how the three-judge panel ruled.

The city’s petition for rehearing argues that the panel erred in its evaluation of both criteria in deciding¬† whether Seattle is entitled to “state-action immunity” from the Sherman Act, departing from established case law.

Uber and the Chamber of Commerce will have the opportunity to dissuade the full 9th Circuit from taking up the case again before it decides on the petition. Of course, they might want their own en banc rehearing of the other issue the three-judge panel decided: that the National Labor Relations Act does not prohibit independent contractors from collective bargaining. However, to-date they have not indicated that they intend to further appeal that issue.

If the full 9th Circuit decides not to rehear the case, the City of Seattle can still appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.