Lyft is facing a potential $1.6 million fine over a ticket issued by the ride-hailing company to a passenger who allegedly tried to steal his driver’s car, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
In a case filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said the fine amounts to “a form of extortion.”
The $1,200 penalty, Orrick wrote, is a fraction of the value of the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Lyft is worth, according to the Associated Press.
Lyft has previously been fined $250,000 in 2013 for not immediately informing a customer when their account was suspended.
In 2016, Lyft was fined $1 billion for violating U.N. sanctions on Iran, which have led to a steep cut in Iranian oil exports.
The court documents indicate that the fine is a violation of federal anti-fraud laws and a breach of a state law banning “any activity in violation of the United States.”
Lyft had sought $1 in damages, arguing that the company had been negligent in its handling of the ticket and the driver was entitled to a refund, according the Associated.
Lyndon is still appealing the $1m fine.
In its filing, Lyft cited a federal law that prohibits the use of a passenger’s credit card to issue a false claim against a driver, and Orrick’s ruling is the first to apply that law to Lyft.
In October, a judge ordered Lyft to pay $4.5 million to a former Lyft driver who was awarded $6,000 after being falsely accused of stealing the driver’s truck.
A jury in the case also found that Lyft’s insurance carrier had negligently covered the driver.
The driver, who is still suing Lyft, sued Lyft and the carrier, saying he was owed a refund.
The ruling is not binding, but Orrick issued a temporary injunction that prevented Lyft from “making any additional fraudulent payments or payments that were intended to cover or increase any amount or amount of liability.”