The Ninth Circuit yesterday asked the Supreme Court to resolve a question of California law that will decide a federal action against Uber arising from the alleged improper launch of the company’s ridesharing platform in Argentina.

An Argentine corporate attorney, who served as the local legal representative of two Uber subsidiaries, blames Uber for a flawed launch that caused his own legal troubles and the fallout therefrom.  The remaining claims in his lawsuit — for fraudulent concealment — were dismissed by a district court as barred by California’s economic loss rule.

Regarding the appeal of the ruling, the Ninth Circuit yesterday asked the Supreme Court whether the economic loss rule, which the federal appeals court described as “a doctrine that prevents a party to a contract from recovering economic damages resulting from breach of contract under tort theories of liability,” is applicable to the case.

Specifically, the Ninth Circuit in Rattagan v. Uber Technologies, Inc. wants the Supreme Court to answer this question:  “Under California law, are claims for fraudulent concealment exempted from the economic loss rule?”  The Ninth Circuit said the “question of state law is determinative of the instant case, and there is no controlling precedent in the California Supreme Court’s decisions.”

It’s been more than eight months since the Ninth Circuit last referred a case to the Supreme Court.

The court should let the Ninth Circuit know by the beginning of February — give or take — whether it will answer the question in Rattagan.  It probably will.  The Supreme Court has granted 11 of the last 12 Ninth Circuit requests for help in resolving questions of California law, dating back to July 2018.  The lone denial during that time was in October 2019.


Rule 8.548

Asked and answered:  California Supreme Court responses to Ninth Circuit questions

The constitutionality of the Supreme Court answering the Ninth Circuit’s legal questions

Ask not what the Supreme Court can do for the Ninth Circuit