Apple, Google, and Genentech Want Back in on Tech Shuttle Lawsuit

Apple, Google, and Genentech filed a motion in San Francisco Superior Court yesterday to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit against San Francisco's tech shuttle pilot program. The filing claims that the tech corporations “have a direct and substantial interest” in the outcome of the suit, which was filed in May 2014 by the Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit and public sector union SEIU 1021. According to the filing, the defendants in the case — the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — do not object to the companies' intervention. 

When the suit was originally filed in 2014, Apple, Google, and Genentech were included as defendants alongside the City and County of San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, Mayor Ed Lee, the SFMTA, and numerous shuttle operators. The suit challenged the legality of the pilot program allowing the controversial tech shuttles to stop at select Muni stops for a fee of $1 per stop (the charge has since been increased to $3.55.) The plaintiffs argue that the pilot program is illegal for two reasons: that it should be preempted by state law banning private vehicles from stopping in red zones; and that the pilot program should have been subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

Over the past year, most of the co-defendants, including Apple, Google, Genentech, and the private shuttle companies, were dismissed from the case. In an email included in yesterday's filings, Richard Drury, the attorney for the plaintiffs, objects to the attempted intervention, asserting that Apple, Google, and Genentech had wanted out of the case previously, and had been granted their wish: “You were parties to the case. Then you filed motions to be dismissed as parties to the case.” He continues:

“After arguing that Genetech [sic] 'would not be directly affected by the outcome of these proceedings,' and that Genentech should not 'somehow be a real party in interest' we believe it is in bad faith for you now to seek intervention in the case from which just recently sought and were granted dismissal. Asking to be dismissed from the case and then asking to intervene clearly serves no purpose other than to delay.” 

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For their part, Apple, Google, and Genentech argue that halting the tech shuttle pilot program would significantly impact their businesses. In the memorandum filed in support of their motion, Apple claims to transport 2700 workers a day from San Francisco to Cupertino through its shuttle program. Google claims to transport 3000 workers, and Genentech counts another 1000. 

Read the full Memorandum below. 

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