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In Uber challenge, taxi drivers lose Jefferson Parish lawsuit

Uber surge prices
Uber drivers were spared Tuesday (April 26) from paying Jefferson Parish taxicab drivers in damages after a judge dismissed a petition against Uber drivers for allegedly violating parish law. (Photo by Marie Simoneaux)

Wilborn P. Nobles III, NOLA.com | The Times-PicayuneBy Wilborn P. Nobles III, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 
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on April 26, 2016 at 2:04 PM, updated April 26, 2016 at 7:57 PM

A judge on Tuesday (April 26) dismissed a lawsuit from Jefferson Parish taxicab drivers who alleged that that Uber drivers committed unfair trade practices. But the cabbies’ attorney said their challenge to the ride-hailing company for compensation is “probably not over.”

“Whether we file a new suit, whether we appeal this one, whether we pursue it in Orleans, it’s not done yet,” said Yvette D’Aunoy. Her comment came after Judge Ellen Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court said the 19 cab drivers who were plainitffs in the case had no cause of action against drivers for San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc.

Uber drivers sued by Jefferson Parish taxicab operators

Uber drivers sued by Jefferson Parish taxicab operators

Defendants undercut cabbies with lower fares, free of regulation, suit says

D’Aunoy had traded barbs in court with Matt Coman, the Uber drivers’ attorney who said her complaints fail because they involve violations of parish ordinances, which he said do not apply to Uber’s drivers and their private vehicles.

The faceoff was the latest in a string of lawsuits and political disputes between Uber and conventional cab drivers across the United States. “Uber drivers are personally liable to law-abiding, for-hire drivers in other realms,” including limousine drivers and other regulated drivers whose “market share is being taken” when Uber charges lower fares, D’Aunoy said. Coman told the court that none of the accusations included in the suit involved the company’s pricing model.

D’Aunoy said her clients “are losing money every day because the Uber drivers are operating unfairly.” Her suit alleged that Uber drivers violated the law by not obtaining permits to operate in Jefferson and failed to undergo background checks and drug tests.

Uber settles California lawsuit over its safety claims: Report

Uber settles California lawsuit over its safety claims: Report

The company will pay $28.5 million to 25 million customers across the country and re-brand its “safe ride fee” as a “booking fee.”

A year ago, the Jefferson Parish Council voted down regulations for ride-hailing companies. As a result, taxi drivers say the company and its drivers must adhere to the same local laws that apply to cabs.

Uber says those laws don’t apply. “Today’s dismissal is a win for the people of Jefferson Parish who rely on Uber for access to safe, reliable transportation options and flexible work opportunities,” company spokesman Bill Gibbons said. “We look forward to continuing our discussions with parish officials to develop a sensible, modern regulatory framework for ride-sharing in the community.”

In addition to a similar suit in New Orleans between cab drivers and UberX drivers, there is a pending Jefferson Parish government suit against the company for allegedly violating parish ordinances. D’Aunoy said the New Orleans case also covers Jefferson Parish.

The suits in both Jefferson and Orleans Parish are among the dozens of Uber-related cases playing out in courts nationwide. D’Aunoy, however, said she does not “think there have been any suits that are driver-to-driver.”

“What’s happened is we have drivers suing Uber, we have taxicab companies suing Uber, we have unions suing Uber. But we didn’t have a pure driver-to-driver suit,” she said.

Uber officials say the company is “disappointed” that the plaintiffs pursued “frivolous legal action in an attempt to limit transportation options.” Company officials also said the cabbies’ efforts are an attempt to “intimidate hard-working driver-partners” who try to make extra money by “providing a valuable service” to the city.

Uber to pay $100M settlement with drivers seeking employee status

Uber to pay $100M settlement with drivers seeking employee status

It will pay an initial sum of $84 million to settle cases in California and Massachusetts.

35 comments

 

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tugrad

tugrad

Instead of suing Uber drivers, taxi drivers should work on making their own product better. At the end of the day, for all their myriad of altruistic claims, the bottom line is that taxi drivers don’t want the competition. They know that in order to compete, they will have to start being on time, cleaning their vehicles, ensuring that their vehicles run properly, and overall change their attitudes toward customers. As long as they are the only game in town, none of this changes. However, with Uber’s arrival, paying passengers are reminded that they have options when spending their money, and thankfully also air conditioning. Ive had nothing but positive experiences with Uber drivers, the same cannot be said of my taxi experiences. People who offer a good product have nothing to fear from a little competition.

Chalmette02

Chalmette02

Instead of taking them to court why not try to compete? If Ubers bigger selling point is clean rides why not have that one taxi company with nothing but Prius’s PUT UP BILLBOARDS advertising that??? Cab companies clearly have size and a fleet why not lower rates below UBERS??

They do get Uber is going to go public and investors are going to make them regret that decision as they demand more and more and more profits jacking up the prices or screwing the drivers.

People like Uber for the APP. WHY NOT MAKE A APP? Hire an IT guy to make you one????
Stop living in the past and get with what Millennials want.  Allow drivers to be graded. My generation ABSOLUTELY loves the concept of holding someone accountable for bad service.

Johnny Clutch

Johnny Clutch

I had a friend that used to repair typewriters years ago. He wanted the government to outlaw computers. He used the same argument as the taxi drivers. He learned that simply because he provided a service, he was not guaranteed employment. if someone provides a better model, either you adjust or you go out of business.

LuckyDog

LuckyDog

Many major cities have required cabs to be upgraded to models similar to the Nissan NV200 models.

Sliding doors, more room, and improved gas mileage. Uber in NOLA is the “cleaner” option compared to the areas taxi fleet.

SCPT

SCPT

Pathetic to see same copy-pasted responses re: Uber “the innovator”. Whoever has hired this army for trolls (probly David Plouffe) should be investigated for manipulating public opinion and deceiving readers.
Truth is multi-billion dollar uber refuses to play fair, it refuses to follow same laws and pay same taxes.
This so called “competition” is unfair and unlawful.

nineteenfiftynine

nineteenfiftynine

@SCPT Uber is free market America at its best.   The taxi companies can go out of business and stop paying off the politicians.   Uber drivers PAY TAXES on their income.  I’m not an Uber driver and have never used it, but it’s obviously a great service providing system at a lower cost to the consumer.  Do you even know how much NY City charges for a cab medallion?  Are you a JP councilman or just a regular government worker ?

KennaBra

KennaBra

@SCPT you must either drive or someone in your family owns a taxi cab company… no regular citizen who has used both has this much hate for uber

klincklanc

klincklanc

@KennaBra …either what you suggests, or perhaps he’s a member of the Jeff Parish Council wanting to get into another thriving business’ pockets

flyasapelicn

flyasapelicn

@SCPT  You’re obviously a taxi driver or related to one somehow. You’re irrational. And you’re being dishonest if you’ve actually tried using taxis in New Orleans through the years vs Uber in the last several months. There’s no comparison.

Bottom line is, what’s the better service in the consumers’ eyes? If Uber sucks so bad, then no amount of public opinion manipulation is going to make people pay more for less over and over again. As long as Ubers aren’t hurting people, the environment, etc. then it’s a matter of what’s the better product, and it’s clear that taxis aren’t that. The people have spoken and will continue to speak.

SCPT

SCPT

I would suggest they file a new lawsuit. It’s not that difficult to prove that Uber is sidestepping existing taxi laws and regulations which charging same or more for unlicensed unregulated frequently uninsured rides. Laws must be equally enforced on all – that’s our constitutional right.

nineteenfiftynine

nineteenfiftynine

@SCPT  Laws applied equally ? Like the “Affordable Health Care” law, which exempts crony corporations in certain senate districts ?   Or give “credits” for some and overcharges others ?

BiggWill211

BiggWill211

Reading this story not as an Uber driver but as a passenger. Much better than any smelly old cab.

This comment has been deleted

klincklanc

klincklanc

@SCPT @BiggWill211  You didn’t give that comment much thought, did you?

SCPT

SCPT

@klincklanc @SCPT @BiggWill211 Sorry, I’m not fond of tax-evading Uber billionaire-owners and their paid army of internet trolls.

klincklanc

klincklanc

@SCPT @BiggWill211  I prefer increased competition within industry. It tends to promote employment, and lower consumer prices.

Kaka007

Kaka007

Issue here is not whether cabs take credit cards, taxi cab fares been little high, taxi cabs have a app or you as a passenger get a cab in five minutes. Issue here is are you for hire passenger vehicle.uber is a taxi cab company. As a taxi cab company you must follow the taxicab rules and regulations. Uber the taxi cab company follow these basic taxi cab rules and regulations in new York, Houston,Berlin, Madrid, Paris and many other cities in the world. By the way uber lost the bragging rights for been the safe ride taxi cab company in California. It cost uber 53 million dollars. Good couple of days ago who was settle a case in California so that drivers could take cash in tips. Uber slowly but surely one of these days is going to be a full-fledged taxi cab company.

Jack H

Jack H

I use Uber all the time and love it!!! It is very convenient to be able to reserve a car and it arrive in a timely manner. Also, love tracking the car I have reserved through their app. The best part of Uber is the case that you do not have to have cash or a card on you to use the service. The taxi cab companies need to stop whining and up their game…

tubad4ya

tubad4ya

The taxi companies would be wiser to bring their services up to the level and value of Uber and Lyft, because they’re not going away. As of now, I’d much rather use a hassle-free rideshare service rather than fiddle around with cash in the perpetual 1960s business model that is area taxi services.

SCPT

SCPT

@tubad4ya Taxi apps pre-date Uber. It would be wise to start thinking critically instead of spewing Uber corporate propaganda.

Axing for the truth

Axing for the truth

@SCPT @tubad4ya

Which taxi service in this city has an app that can get you a ride without calling in?  Does it track the cars and can you cancel etc?  Seriously….I am asking, I have not seen ANYTHING like that with taxi co’s.

nineteenfiftynine

nineteenfiftynine

I guess JP politicians are anti free market anti Americans.   Taxis and the CUT the government gets is going the way of the horse whip.   Get up with the times.   You can be SURE these politicians are scheming away at how to eliminate UBER or get their CUT !

noladotcomusername

noladotcomusername

After this weekend, I’ll never call a cab company again.  United Cab was the first phone number I memorized when I moved here years ago, but the cab never showed.  The Lyft driver was a minute away.  Not to mention cab drivers decide where they’ll go from the FQ and CBD and charge out the rear for anywhere Uptown.  F*** cabs.

The business model of taxi cabs is failing big time.  Evolve or perish, cab companies!

nolaguy2

nolaguy2

yeah, I’ve had my in-town fare rejected too many times by local cab companies, including beloved United. they all suck.

kennabra

kennabra

My question is why does it cost about $25.00 to take a cab to the french quarter from Metairie but double that to take a cab back? NOLA cabbies are a bunch of crooks. God bless UBER!

SCPT

SCPT

@kennabra Fark Uber and the paid propaganda shills who promote Uber’s law-breaking manipulative practices. And.. Uber is more expensive. Don’t forget – what Uber doesn’t pay in taxes is considered “uber’s corporate profit” which is about 30-40% of every fare taken in an unlicensed unregulated uber car.

flyasapelicn

flyasapelicn

@SCPT  UBER is cheaper you loser… even with the company’s 30%. And faster and more convenient. Next time you’re waiting for a cab, read Atlas Shrugged to see what side of history you’re falling on. Just wait another decade until cars are automated — what’s going to be your story then? Don’t be a Luddite.