This story first ran on BusinessDen.com, a BizWest news partner.
A judge in Centennial ordered DoorDash to hand over millions of documents to a Denver man who was seriously injured in a crash with one of its drivers — a demand that the delivery service calls “draconian” and estimates will cost it $159 million and millions of employee hours.
Now the state supreme court is considering whether to overturn the judge’s order.
Winthrop Elliott, of Five Points, was riding his motorcycle at 9th and Ogden around 7 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2021, when he was hit by a vehicle that had ignored a stop sign, he says. Elliott’s left leg was crushed in the collision and had to be amputated just below the knee.
Ten months later, in the summer of 2022, Elliott sued the driver, Hayelom Reda of Aurora, as well as DoorDash. He alleged that Reda was rushing due to DoorDash’s delivery time requirements and distracted by DoorDash’s delivery app, which was directing him.
Reda and DoorDash have admitted the collision occurred but deny all wrongdoing. A seven-day jury trial is scheduled to begin June 12 in Arapahoe County District Court.
But first, the Colorado Supreme Court must decide what DoorDash secrets Elliott can see.
On Feb. 24, Judge Elizabeth Volz told DoorDash to turn over all versions of its smartphone app from the past three years, which DoorDash calls “its most sensitive software,” plus copies of all complaints against DoorDash and its drivers in the past three years, as Elliott’s lawyers requested.
DoorDash said it can’t comply. There have been 114 versions of its driver and customer apps in that time, and data from past apps has been lost to time, it said. Plus the company makes 34 million deliveries a week in 27 countries, leading to an estimated 3.1 million complaints.
“While DoorDash cannot precisely state the number of documents or pages that would have to be produced” to comply with Volz’s order, attorneys for DoorDash wrote March 10, “DoorDash estimates it would span 159,120,000 pages, cost approximately $159,120,000, and take approximately 13,290,000 employee hours to compile the responsive information.”
On March 10, DoorDash asked the Supreme Court to overturn Volz’s order. Four days later, the high court agreed to consider the case. Elliott now has until April 11 to state his position.
“The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to accept DoorDash’s petition supports our position that the discovery requests were not reasonable, were not relevant to this case, and in some cases were not even possible to comply with,” the company said Wednesday.
Elliott is represented by attorneys Stephen Burg and David Crough from Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh and Jardine in Denver. They declined to comment on the case.
Reda’s lawyers are Christine Atwood and Michelle Harden with Messner Reeves in Denver.
DoorDash is represented by John Mann, Andres Hermosillo and Christopher Jones in Gordon & Rees’ Denver office, plus Erica Day from Williams Porter Day & Neville in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
DoorDash often finds itself in Colorado courts due to car crashes. It has been sued five times so far in 2023 by drivers who crashed with DoorDash drivers along the Front Range and was sued seven times in 2022 due to Front Range crashes. All dozen cases are ongoing.