Judge Krupp, sitting in the Massachusetts Business Litigation Session, granted Uber’s motion to compel documents containing the identities of drivers who shared information with the Attorney General about their work for Uber and Lyft.
In Healey v. Uber Technologies (see our prior update here), the AG invoked the investigatory privilege to resist production. The purposes of the investigatory privilege, according to the Supreme Judicial Court in Bougas v. Chief of Police of Lexington, include:
[T]he avoidance of premature disclosure of the Commonwealth’s case prior to trial, the prevention of the disclosure of confidential investigative techniques, procedures, or sources of information, the encouragement of individual citizens to come forward and speak freely with police concerning matters under investigation, and the creation of initiative that police officers might be completely candid in recording their observations, hypotheses and interim conclusions.
The AG claimed, according to Judge Krupp, that “obliging her to identify the drivers will generally chill the willingness of ‘individual citizens to come forward and speak freely with police concerning matters under investigation.’”
Judge Krupp, however, disagreed.
Judge Krupp ruled that the drivers were not unreasonably singled out, noting the “number of drivers—upwards of 600, according to plaintiff’s counsel—who have provided information to plaintiff, and the tremendous pool of possible witnesses.”
He also ruled that the drivers were unlikely to suffer any retaliation because of the “considerable remedy [available to them] if any retaliation were to follow.”
Finally, he ruled that “[n]o one speaking to plaintiff . . . could have harbored any reasonable illusion that their identities would remain secret.” That’s because the AG had “alerted the drivers that she may have to disclose to Uber and/or Lyft their identify and the information they supplied.” In any event, there would be “no general disclosure of the identities of the drivers,” Judge Krupp wrote, because the production would be subject to a protective order.
The Business Litigation Session of Superior Court:
Docket Number: 2084CV01519
Case Name: Maura Healey v. Uber Technologies, et al.
Date of Decision: February 28, 2022
Judge: Peter B. Krupp, Justice of the Superior Court
Michael J. Leard is a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department. For over a decade, Mike has represented individuals and companies of all sizes from across the country in the areas of commercial litigation, product liability ...
Eric P. Magnuson co-chairs Nutter’s Business Litigation practice group. Blending practicality with tenacity and strategic thinking, Eric helps clients solve legal challenges so that his clients can focus on what they do ...