The big one is not retaining an attorney. No, he doesn't have to for small claims court, but Uber clearly had its legal team looking at this. Now, I understand that lawyers are expensive and carry their own issues - but if he'd won the case with an attorney, he could potentially have secured attorney's fees as well. Plus, a good way to make a company cave on an issue like this is to say "direct all requests to my attorney; I'm not speaking to you on this matter."
I realize getting a lawyer isn't always feasible, though, especially in small claims, so I'll assume it just wasn't possible for this case (also, I'm not a lawyer, this is just based on my understanding of the small claims process). Still, giving Uber all the evidence in the case after a suit had been filed but before any discovery had been ordered was a misstep. Small claims court rarely has formal discovery - the process by which each side finds and turns over evidence to the other side. The OP was - as far as I can tell - under no obligation to give evidence to the Uber rep of any kind. He should not have; they used it against him. What he should have done was say "we can discuss this in court, or you can make me whole now and avoid that," and NOTHING else.
Edit: A line I really enjoyed from the piece: "They were a company that shows blatant disrespect to authority, operating illegally in cities and using technology to intentionally avoid law enforcement." Yep. That's Uber in a nutshell. Well played.
Agree on the mistake of giving Uber all the info. The guy was trusting Uber not to be as scummy as they ended up being. I'm sure he has learned his lesson and next time regardless of company, especially once lawsuit stuff has come into play, will do what you said:
> What he should have done was say "we can discuss this in court, or you can make me whole now and avoid that," and NOTHING else.
It can be worth it, especially if - as OP mentioned - part of his goal was to prove his case to Uber, not so much to specifically recover the money. He didn't necessarily need an incredible A++ 10/10 lawyer, just somebody decent who could devote a couple hours to advising him and act as a go-between for settlement negotiations.
Having a lawyer levels you up in the eyes of court systems and corporations both. Is it perfectly worth it? Not necessarily. Is it very good advice for people considering any kind of legal action? I think so.
-compensation for valuables in the bag
-compensation for software/files/etc
-compensation for time wasted
-compensation for di-stress caused
-compensation for tickets & hotel (if I get this right, the "victim" had to fly in for the court)
The Uber may had to cough-up 6-8-10k, the lawyer would get 2-4k for 2 hours worth of work and all would be happy
He could go to regular court to claim a larger amount, but that's a more involved and lengthy process.
It's expected that you'll try to resolve things before filing a suit, and it's expected to try to settle if possible once suit has been filed, but it's not my understanding that those negotiations necessarily involve giving info to the other party that isn't to your advantage except as part of actual discovery. Were you told at some point by the magistrate or court otherwise that you had to do that?
I assume that he assumed it would just be a couple letters drafted and they would cough up, but they really dug in their heels and used the dialog between the lawyers to extend hassle, and it took a bit more than a few letters. We didn't settle until the day before the court date.
Needless to say the $500/hour bill for his services pretty much nullified the settlement, and when the process concluded he politely informed us that this was a little below his scope as our retained lawyer and to gladly not bother him again with things quite so trivial and time consuming.
Frankly, at $500/hour, I would politely tell him that I will bother him with whatever I need, he's not doing me a favour.
How, exactly does one "retain" a lawyer?
Is that a formal, monthly-fee kind of thing, for the ability to call them up for questions and advice?
Or is it more like an informal, having done business in the past, maybe for a larger lawsuit, getting to be friendly, and knowing a guy who knows a guy, sort of thing?
That money is held by the firm and Billings are placed against it until time to top it off again.
Initially, no. By the time you're in a court of law, yes. Once you file suit - small claims or not - discussion time is over. If you make that decision prematurely, that's not great, but there's no taking it back except by dismissing the suit, which would have been a mistake.
Yes it is. Why? Because they won't hesitate to do exactly that to you in the reverse situation. In this (almost literal) prisoners dilemma, the corporation has already defected. You gain nothing by cooperating.
I think when you're facing a large entity and their thousands of dollars per billable hour legal team, it makes sense to leverage any advantage you can.
It's going to suck if this guy gets sued for libel.
Theft is often a misdemeanor where robbery is often a felony. They are pretty different things, legally speaking.
I'm looking at taking two parties to small claims court, over ~$1,000 USD, and wonder if it's worth the fees to seek legal guidance.
The Uber department responded that they had no record of a trip from the vehicle with that license plate on December 5th, 2016, just after 11 PM, and the driver had not driven with them for 2 years.
Funny, I came here to rant that Uber shouldn't really be responsible for that and the OP should have sued the driver instead, but if this is their response then they totally deserved everything they got and more.
How is it even possible to get away with lying to the police like that? They should be in serious trouble for this alone.
I was able to contact him since I luckily had a tablet with data and I was using Project Fi but there was absolutely no good process to deal with this since it was impossible to get in touch with him.
Uber support was completely useless and in the end he returned it to one of their service centers. He never told me so and enough time had passed where Uber just recycles/destroys phones beyond a certain point.
I was absolutely livid about this. I only use Uber as a last resort now.
I really don't get this. You are livid with the company and yet you will still continue to pay them. Why would they do anything different then? Why are there situations where you absolutely have to use Uber as a last resort? What did you do in those situations previously before Uber came about?
But Uber doesn't get to simultaneously claim to be safer than taxis because of the data being tracked whilst also not using that data to help prevent and prosecute crimes.
I've taken many a taxi ride and can count on one hand the number of times I've gotten a receipt (which was only because it for expense reimbursement).
Having a digital record in a receipt emailed to you or live in the app is a entirely different league of convenience.
Most people don't want them or throw them away, I'm sure they'd be happy to offer to trash it for you. :)
I once lost my phone in a private hire in the UK (these are essentially less tightly regulated taxis that cannot pick people up off the street, they must be pre-booked only, and are what Uber operates as), and having emailed the office kept getting told that he was going to hand it in to the police as lost property "tomorrow" for a number of days. In the end, I told them that unless he handed it in within a further three days I would go to the police and make a complaint of theft against the driver, with all the emails between me and their office as evidence that a) they knew who the driver was even though they wouldn't tell me, and that b) he had it. Surprisingly enough, it got handed in within a couple of hours after that.
From what I understand, cab companies acknowledge liability for their drivers, so they'd be much more inclined to take action against unscrupulous drivers. It seems plausible that people who want to use the pretense of driving others around to steal things from their passengers would be much less likely to want to driver for such a company, so I wouldn't be surprised if my experience with a driver willing to go out of their way to return items is much more common with taxis than Uber.
I live in New Zealand.
They couriered to me for free.
(I sent the driver a box of wine to say thanks).
Trying not to spoil anything for someone who hasn't read or finished reading the article.
But first it sucks how much time was spent by everyone in the story especially the victim. It also sucks that if you have to go to court again because something comes up that shows the defense, Uber, in this case, did something clearly wrong that wasn't known the first time, you seemingly can't increase the amount you're suing for. So all the expenses of going back to court again, etc, come out of your pocket. That's lame.
But at least you won in the end^. I'll be weary of Uber from now on and my belongings. I can't completly stop using Uber because of friends who don't care. Finally, who knows how other companies would handle this. Probably better, but, I don't know.
^ not a spoiler like a commentor noted because the title and URL both say he won
I agree it is hard to be tongue in cheek on HN. I have to remind myself of that too.
At least your happiness isn't dependent on your karma ;).
just avoid the hassle and use "/s"
He should be at fault for not being as fast as a car? Most people aren't going to be able to run at >10mph for very long, forget about anything more.
And even then, suppose he had caught up to the car and the driver didn't want to stop.
It's plausible to me that the driver didn't hear, or didn't pay full attention to the request to wait, and just pulled away...and that the bag was taken by a later passenger.
I would have been happy to get the money, and probably would have skipped the blog post.
Every day I hear something so ridiculous from Uber I can't believe it. Seems like Lyft's biggest advertisement should be "Lyft: we're not uber"
Until something similar happens to them, people often take for granted living in a society where the legal process is relatively accessible to those needing it.
Instead, in usual Uber fashion, the legal and HR team worked their magic and created a lose-lose-lose situation for themselves:
1. They established precedent for liability;
2. They obstructed justice, which could be used as fodder in subsequent lawsuits; and
3. They did nothing to prevent this story from being broadcasted far and wide.
You could probably have designed an app, coded a site, or written a small novel with that time.
The driver who stole the backpack full of gear should not be in a position of trust with other people's belongings. Following the thread to make yourself whole and also hopefully to have some repercussion for the thief is worth while.
The author comes off as deeply uninformed about how legal proceedings in the U.S. work, for example talking about how he had to refute arguments in court and such, which is just not how things work at all at that level. Some basic Googleing would have taught him all he needed to know about defending himself in small claims court without stress.
You can't just go to small claims court and say "I make $50/hr, and I've spent 20 hours on this, so I also demand an extra $1000"
I am not saying it was (or was not) worth it.
Sometimes it really is the principle of the thing. Also it's good to have this data point out there for people to see how Uber operates behind the scenes.
Surely no one would ever abuse such a tool.
in theory you could have discovery to actually get the drivers details and then take the driver to small claims.
in practice even for $4000 you're stretching it being worth it in many jurisdictions.
I gave her a generous cash tip and many thanks for doing the right thing, as I was far away from my home in the Bay Area (was in Savannah for a race).
That list is shrinking though.
Plenty of rich people aren't nice.
After he dropped them, they realized the devices were still in the car, and immediately tried to reach him. And he never picked up.
Well, he never pursued the issue further and left it at that.
I've had some rather good experiences e.g. where the driver called me, and brought back the stuff to me after he was done at the end of the day and refused to take any money as a reward.
I guess it all depends on the person.
It is as if, "I think you are trying to commit fraud here ... because that is what I can imagine trying to pull off myself."
If I got food sick from something I ordered off GrubHub could I sue them?
In that scenario, you're damn right you could sue GrubHub; they'd be complicit in the coverup of a crime.
Now, if Uber as a company promoted (in one way or another) reckless speeding for the sake of fast drop-offs, and I get hit by an Uber driver, yes I think Uber is at fault (and the driver). However, why does it sound like Uber is responsible for everything "during work hours"?
Eg, if they didn't do anything wrong, the person just randomly stabbed me, many here think Subway owes me millions. What do you think?
I disagree, it seems bizarre to me because Subway can't possible know what crimes all employees might commit and somehow fight to prevent that. Right?
.. actually let me ask you this:
In what scenario should Subway not be held liable? So many here blame Subway in my scenario, when they were not even involved.. so what does a company have to do to prevent being sued by employees random, un-predictable actions?
Crime committed -> worker details go to police -> criminal conviction | current mechanisms for direct financial restitution from criminals to crime victims.
Or maybe in the case of no criminal conviction,
Crime committed -> (messing about with police) | John Doe lawsuit against Uber -> Driver details released -> Lawsuit against driver.
Don't get me wrong, Uber just sounds like a lunatic asylum, and their conduct in this case no worse than I'd expect. But it just seems so weird that the chain of events leads to a claim against Uber. I would honestly have expected them to have thrown the driver under a bus while staying rock solid behind their terms and conditions.
They could be. It depends on the process involved in hiring said worker. If there are little to no checks you could argue Subway was at fault (at least partially) for not properly vetting people being brought in.
Another item is you may have missed the part where Uber obstructed justice by initially lying to the police and not correcting it until it was the primary reason they were going back to court.
It's a nuanced and contextual issue, not a "how far the line goes".
Do you disagree?
But also generally the driver gets out with me to help get the luggage out...?
Ok, go about 2 pages down, and you can skip the incredibly detailed discussion of his exiting the car.
This seems more like the driver thought he had all his bags, the door was closed, a simple mistake. But no, the driver was a master thief, spying him using stuff in his bag and racing off (at an incredibly slow pace according to the video).
Good on the guy for following up with this, and it is an interesting story.
> They were a company that shows blatant disrespect to authority, operating illegally in cities and using technology to intentionally avoid law enforcement.
This is true, and well known. And if you knowingly use Uber, you understand this.
I personally feel bad that it's only after reading this that I'm going to stop using Uber as well...despite all of the terrible stuff that's going on over there, I was willing to strike up to "growing pains" or "bad apples", since I wrongly believed they were 100% committed to their users. That's clearly not the case so there's no more Uber for me.
If you check into a hotel, and the bellboy steals your luggage, is the hotel liable for it?
If you hired a roofing company to fix your roof, they subcontracted it to another firm, which came and set your house on fire, are the roofers also not liable? Especially after they spend a few months trying to prevent you and the police from getting in touch with the subcontractors?
This smells of criminal conspiracy.
It is not the same as someone grabbing your purse when you are walking down the street.
Unless the person who grabbed your purse was hired by you through an agency to hold your bags and walk you down the street before they ran off with your purse.
He went to considerable effort over multiple calls over a few days of coordinating and attempts for me to get it back, until eventually I got it back intact.
It was a first class customer service experience.
It enforces the point of the article: your experience with Uber is entirely influenced by your driver.
If you happen to have a bad one (like the author), Uber takes no responsibility (contractor contractor contractor!), and your only recourse is considerable time and effort taking them to court.
#1 rule of capitalism is to coddle your customers as much as possible at every possible expense while still remaining profitable. Why does Uber act so 2nd World?
Yes, it is relevant.
At least Uber is a big target that can be found, forced to disclose the data that you know they always have, and if you win, you have reasonable assurance you get the money.
"Ultimately I am sad that the company that is trying to reform the taxi industry is so corrupt."
I say this as someone who had the misfortune of growing up there.
I'm only being sarcastic about not faulting the driver. Unless you're trying to grow your customer base or know the person you screw them. It's just how things are done.
> If you didn’t know, FYM Hot Sauce was the first sponsor for the professional DotA 2 team, “Team NP. [...] When Team NP (who had never qualified for a major tournament) made it to the their first major tournament, held in Boston I decided to go and support them.
> If someone tried to run off with a bag full of hot sauce in one of my other suitcases it would be awkward and ultimately not a huge deal
Empty white page.
Defective site design.
I know JS isnt HTML, but at this point, it basically is. Complaining that a site is broken because you choose to break it is just astounding.
Normally, I find belly-aching about something not looking right or not working right because NoScript is on is silly.
Not to mention they load code from Google APIs, Google Analytic, Shopify.com, Embed.ly, Gfycat.com, and Mlveda.com, which means I'm suddenly running code from websites I never intended on visiting. Why should visiting https://fymhotsauce.rocks send a road flare to all those services?
You're right, this is the new normal, but it's shit and we should be complaining.
I would've liked to know more about this relevant detail.
From what I can tell, the worst thing Uber did was not be sufficiently cooperative with the police investigation. This part of the narrative is extremely muddled and unclear, so it's hard to take a strong position on their behavior here.
"The Uber department responded that they had no record of a trip from the vehicle with that license plate on December 5th, 2016, just after 11 PM, and the driver had not driven with them for 2 years."
"Sufficiently cooperative" (per you) and outright lying are two very different things.
"Why would Uber not have the information on the driver for the police? Uber asserted that they don’t have the ability to look up the drive information of my trip with the information provided (license plate, car make and model, name of driver, time and date of trip, and pickup and drop off location of trip) as it was a violation of privacy. "
Uhhh... what? It violates privacy? Your either complying with the police or you aren't. "There was no warrant" would have been an OK answer, but that wasn't what they said.
They aren't being muddled or unclear here, they are literally avoiding giving answers that would make them look bad. Maybe if they had been more honest and responsive the items could have been recovered rather than the blame falling on Uber.
This kind of thing worries me a bit.
This past week I've taken two Lyfts where the license plate provided in the app didn't match what the driver was actually using. One of my drivers claimed they had just gotten a new car, but that's a bit odd to me since when I bought a new car it took several weeks to get my license plate.
So there should be ample time for a good driver to ensure their record is up to date.
That can happen, you don't even need a new car for it. I've bought a car with one license plate missing, and when I went to DMV to ask what to do with it, I just was issued a new set. One other time, on another car, my back license plate disappeared - still have no idea what happened to it, I suspect it was stolen, but I have no idea where (how often you check the license plate on your own car?) or why. It's very easy to steal it, it's just two screws, so it was gone, and I went to the DMV and got another set. Some of my documents still list the same car under an old license plate. So it's not impossible to have several sets of plates for the same car, and it's very easy to get a new set.
Getting license plate btw can be very fast - at least in California, once you're in the DMV they just have a stack of plates sitting there and they take one from the top and give it to you (obviously, after you waited in the line and paid and filled in the documents, etc. - that may take time :) Brand-new car may take longer or if you get them by mail.
First and foremost for your own safety.
Second just send them to CS. If something terrible ever happens and it shows up on the 11pm news, at least you can say "I tried" and the company can't run and hide from its bad policy
It's just a bit odd to me that the driver wouldn't think to update the plate number in the app, or that uber/lyft would be so slow to update it.
I doubt it's a human in the cloud who sees a notification that a driver would like to update their plate number and then adds it to a queue to work on.
Having used Lyft countless times over the last few years I know I have personally never checked the checked that the plate matched.
However, usually that's the way I identify the correct driver. For instance Priuses are the more common car and sometimes it's easier to memorize the first 4 or so digits on a plate than the make/model/color that my driver is driving.
But on the other hand, it's still a small issue at least because in some rare circumstance somebody could use it maliciously.
> "The Uber department responded that they had no record of a trip from the vehicle with that license plate on December 5th, 2016, just after 11 PM, and the driver had not driven with them for 2 years."
How do we know this is a lie? It could be true due to driver fraud (driving a different car than the one they have registered with Uber). Or it could have been some kind of mixup on their support team.
> Uhhh... what? It violates privacy? Your either complying with the police or you aren't. "There was no warrant" would have been an OK answer, but that wasn't what they said.
"It violates privacy" and "there was no warrant" aren't mutually exclusive, feels like you're splitting hairs here. If a request violates privacy, that's a good reason to ask for a warrant.
Also, you left out this confusing paragraph:
"It was later asserted that they reached out to the police detective to clear this up. They found the information and tried to contact the detective with all the information. If you are curious as to when this happened, it was April 9th. Uber did everything in their power to make the investigation successful and cooperate with the detective, on April 9th, 2017, four months after the incident. They also only reached out to the detective with the correct information once they were caught obstructing the investigation."
It's still unclear to me how exactly Uber obstructed the investigation but maybe my reading comprehension is lacking.
Im terrible with dates so stuff like this slips by me ALL the time!
- Monday, December 5th, 2016, the crime
- Uber tells police that they "don't have a record of a trip..."
- March 3rd, 2017. first court date
- April 9th, uber amends statement to the police. We do have records but won't share due to privacy...
You know, telling the driver that they are a matter of a police investigation and that they would be sharing data with them (aka cooperating) would have given uber a leg to stand on. Uber saying "We gave all the info to the police, it is out of our hands, we don't control our contractors" goes a long way in court. Lying, changing your story, tends not to.
This is literally how you get charged with "obstructing justice" --- you shut up or you tell the truth.
This still leaves a lot of open questions and is IMO not even a compelling allegation of obstruction of justice, let alone proof. As I said before, it's entirely possible that the actual driver/car were not the ones registered with Uber on the account. It's also possible that somebody erred when looking up records, or a million other things.
What we do know is that by the time this made it to the first court date, Uber was not denying that a trip or a theft took place.
I'll reiterate my fundamental argument since this has strayed a little bit: this article is muddled and confusing with regards to cataloguing bad actions by Uber.
"this article is muddled and confusing"
Reality is muddled and confusing. Real life never has the clarity of an omniscient third-person narrator telling the reader the actual facts of the matter.
However, if Uber claimed they can not do the lookup, that would be a lie. They definitely can, they may not want to do it for some reasons (e.g. that may be sued by the driver if it turns out it was a scam on the part of the passenger, and maybe even in case it's even a simple misunderstanding - people have been suing for less), but no question they can. If they lied to the police and the court, that would be a huge mistake.
I sent an email to support asking for my full ride history, and I asked what was the date which I created my account as I wanted to know how close to the birth of Uber I signed up...
I was told that I couldn't have any of that info as it was a violation of privacy.
I found this bizarre as it was my account info I was seeking.
When Uber had the "party" thing happen, I thought it was going to be an interesting lottery to attend an Uber corporate as a user.
Turned out it was simply a ploy to measure how many people they could get to tap on the lottery button, then deliver them to Harlot, a club in SF which typically charges a cover to enter, but there was no cover - the bar was still full price and at the end of the lame party, everyone was just standing on the corner like any other schlepp.
I was amazed that Uber had arranged this "secret party lottery" where the driver only knew the location and would pick you up and drop you at the party... but they didn't arrange for any pickups from the party to take you back home.
I had asked some Uber party planners that were there at the time if they intended on sharing any of the user behavior data gathered from this experiment, they laughed and said "not a chance"
It was the lamest secret party ever - and given that they didn't even cover Uber rides home after taking people free to a bar, I thought it was very poor on their part.
Does seem bizarre. Do other companies provide this information? I can't imagine Amazon or Facebook not telling you. But I've never tried. Facebook and Google have their data take our services (I know neither provide everything especially FB), but maybe that includes the info. Amazon at least shows you your entire purchase history, equivalent to ride history.
The party stuff just seems funny in a sad way. I never heard of it before.
Uber is maybe in a little different position because they're in danger of outing a cheating spouse if they give up that info. Maybe a better option would be to let you access all of your trip info, but have an option to hide certain trips? Sort of like private browsing mode in your browser?
Yeah there should be some solution.
The cheating spouse was only one example. Another might be a girl in a repressive social setting getting information about contraception. There are legitimate, lawsuit baiting reasons why this information is risky to disseminate too easily.
"It was later asserted that they reached out to the police detective to clear this up. They found the information and tried to contact the detective with all the information."
"If you are curious as to when this happened, it was April 9th. Uber did everything in their power to make the investigation successful and cooperate with the detective, on April 9th, 2017, four months after the incident. They also only reached out to the detective with the correct information once they were caught obstructing the investigation."
How exactly did Uber obstruct the investigation? What incorrect information did they give? Maybe I'm thick, but it's not clear to me at all from the article.
Which lead to them only being found 50% liable the first time.
"The one good thing that he did was he did not deny the contents or existence of my backpack."
"One point the Uber rep gave was that I should have heard the car driving away and chased after him."
"The Uber representative said that their drivers are independent contractors and as such, they are not responsible for making sure that they respond to any phone calls, and actually had zero control over what they do."
"Uber said that the driver had a good standing, but was very evasive when asked if he had taken any more trips that night. The Clerk made him answer that there was only one more ride given. This alluded to the possibility that the other passenger could have taken the bag from the backseat."
Lol, as if that's acceptable for any company in an investigation. I'm not sure if you're playing coy, but your words are trying to insert doubt into his story when there really is none.
They blatantly tried to make this guys life much more difficult than it needed to be and their track record has shown they really have a culture of not caring about this stuff no matter the "narrative".
Quite frankly, I'm surprised this comment was voted to the top.
The driver seemingly didn't get reprimanded or properly investigated by Uber. We don't know this for sure, but based on what went down, this seems to be the case. Uber lied to the police. Uber tried to turn it around against the victim for having so much evidence. When the victim was incredibly lucky to have a few of his evidence items (like photo on plane and security camera).
The victim (and police) were never able to get in contact with the driver. Shouldn't Uber have some sort of way for a customer of a driver to get into contact with said driver? The current way made it far too easy for the driver to get away with robbing the victim. This is possibly most damning against Uber -- they don't seem to be doing anything to change things. Perhaps they are. Changes don't happen overnight and they don't have to be transparent if they are trying to better things. So I'll definitely be humbled and retract my assumptions that Uber isn't trying to better things if they do in the coming months.
Sure he did. He got a 1-star rating - surely this will weed out the bad agents from the system.
> Uber said that the driver had a good standing
They could've been lying of course.
I honestly can't imagine what else you would call it, except maybe "belligerent incompetence".
If a contractor for a public utility like a phone company comes in your house on a repair call for said phone company and pisses all over your couch and takes a dump in your fish tank, do you think that the phone company has no liability for setting up the whole thing and sending someone like that into your house?
to remove valuables without right from (a place)
Does not need to be violent to be a robbery
In California for example, “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear."
I know of no case holding that driving off with a person's property is "force."
This probably would fall under theft in a criminal proceeding in Cal.:
Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character and by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft. In determining the value of the property obtained, for the purposes of this section, the reasonable and fair market value shall be the test, and in determining the value of services received the contract price shall be the test. If there be no contract price, the reasonable and going wage for the service rendered shall govern. For the purposes of this section, any false or fraudulent representation or pretense made shall be treated as continuing, so as to cover any money, property or service received as a result thereof, and the complaint, information or indictment may charge that the crime was committed on any date during the particular period in question. The hiring of any additional employee or employees without advising each of them of every labor claim due and unpaid and every judgment that the employer has been unable to meet shall be prima facie evidence of intent to defraud.
The legal definition is irrelevant, since the use in the title is not referring to the legal offense at issue in the lawsuit (which is not the crime of robbery, sure, but also not the crime of theft that you spend most of your response discussing the definition of for a jurisdiction other than the one relevant to the article, but instead a tort, likely—though unspecified in the article—conversion or something similar) but a common-language description of the event.
So sure, you could cite a dictionary as license to use words in misleading ways because other (confused) people have made an unhelpful definition commonplace. But some people actually care about using words to convey meaning, and care about the difference between "robbery" and "theft."
: ( I don't disagree with you, and I get that prescriptivism is a losing battle (and the wrong battle, IMO), but this one bothers me, because we actually _lost_ expressive power.
None of these examples are relevant.
> This heat is killing me
No ambiguity in the misuse here, since you would literally be the first person who had ever talked to the living dead.
> I'm in love with this ice cream
"In love" isn't well-defined. How is this even a misuse?
> I swear to god
Again, how is this a misuse? You might argue that people swear to god too casually, but that's a far cry from somehow claiming that you're certain that the person doesn't _actually_ mean they're swearing to god.
By contrast, I've already personally come across cases where people used the word literally and were misunderstood as meaning "a lot". On more than one occasion!
> What you think is pretty much irrelevant if everyone else disagrees with you.
You don't think I can find a single other person who agrees with me?
First, this is wrong; many words have multiple meanings some of which are diametrically opposed; they still have meaning, though it may take awareness of context to interpret the correct meaning.
Second, its irrelevant; the different meanings of “literally” are not opposites, though the figurative use (which does not, contrary to some descriptions, mean same as “figuratively”) is often presented incorrectly in a manner which suggests that. The figurative meaning is a qualitative intensifier applied to another figurative description which the speaker expects is clearly figurative from context, not a description which communicated that that use is figurative rather than literal.
The use of literally with its meaning of “not figurative” is only necessary in those contexts where it is unclear without the additional term whether a use is figurative or literal.
The use of it with its meaning as an intensifier of a figurative statement is only necessary (or appropriate) when it is already clear from context that the use is figurative and cannot be literal.
Worse, as usage of the second meaning grows, it encroaches on one's ability to use the first meaning unambiguously. If the second usage becomes more and more commonplace, with the bar constantly lowering on how unbelievable something needs to be for this usage, it affects everyone who wants to use the word functionally.
> The use of it with its meaning as an intensifier of a figurative statement is only necessary (or appropriate)
That's awfully prescriptivist of you. Go with the flow, man! I'm literally done replying on this thread.
Sure, it does; first, “context” includes everything other than the words used, including the manner of the speakers presentation, and, second, the rest of the English language is still available. One can, for instance, explicitly state, “not figuratively”. It's true that—as is true in general with figurative uses—the more common they become in situations where speaker and listener may nit view context the same way, the more they require verbose circumlocution to disambiguate literal from figurative use. (The use of “literally” in it's literal sense is almost entirely such a circumlocution made necessary by such issues with figurative uses of other words and phrases, for instance.) This affects figurative use of “literally” the same as any other figurative use of language.
"cleave" and "sanction" are probably the most familiar examples here.