Cabbies cannot sue NYC over Uber, Lyft influence on license values


By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) – New York’s high state courtroom on Thursday threw out claims by yellow cab operators that New York Metropolis diminished the worth of their taxi licenses by failing to rein in app-based opponents like Uber Applied sciences Inc and Lyft Inc.

The New York Court docket of Appeals in a unanimous ruling mentioned town’s Taxi and Limousine Fee (TLC) by no means promised yellow cab corporations that it will take steps to guard the worth of their licenses, that are often known as medallions and may value tens of millions of {dollars}.

The businesses declare the worth of medallions they bought in 2013 for a median of $1.3 million every fell by about 75% over the subsequent few years as app-based providers grew to become extra standard.

However the Court docket of Appeals, affirming a decrease courtroom, mentioned the TLC was not certain to cap the variety of app-based automobiles that might function within the metropolis when it offered medallions to cab corporations.

A spokesman for the New York Metropolis Legislation Division, which represents the TLC, mentioned his workplace was happy with the ruling.

“The Court docket rightly acknowledged that plaintiffs had no foundation to sue the Metropolis, which has in any other case supplied substantial debt aid and different assist to the small-scale taxi drivers who had been affected by the entry of ride-hailing apps into the New York Metropolis market,” he mentioned.

Legal professionals for the taxi corporations didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The TLC at the moment caps the variety of medallions for yellow cabs, which might choose up passengers on the road in Manhattan, at about 13,500. The company additionally regulates “black automobiles,” together with app-based providers, which can solely give rides which are prearranged.

Of their 2017 lawsuit, the businesses mentioned the TLC had breached its contracts with medallion house owners by failing to cap the variety of black automobiles that might function within the metropolis.

However the Court docket of Appeals on Thursday mentioned these contracts didn’t make any ensures in regards to the worth of taxi medallions.

“Defendants warned plaintiffs … that they weren’t guaranteeing plaintiffs’ funding or making any guarantees in regards to the future software of TLC’s guidelines,” Choose Anthony Cannataro wrote for the courtroom.

The courtroom additionally dismissed the businesses’ declare underneath a New York regulation banning misleading enterprise practices. The regulation solely applies to “consumer-oriented transactions,” which doesn’t embrace the sale of taxi medallions, the courtroom mentioned.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Modifying by Alexia Garamfalvi, Alexandra Hudson and Jonathan Oatis)

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