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From Antitrust Law Daily, March 5, 2015

Philly cab drivers denied injunction against Uber

By Jody Coultas, J.D.

Checker Cab Philadelphia, Inc., 44 other taxicab companies, and a taxicab dispatch company were denied a preliminary injunction that would have barred Uber Technologies, Inc. from operating an allegedly illegal taxi cab operation in Philadelphia by the federal district court in Philadelphia (Checker Cab Philadelphia, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., March 3, 2015, Alejandro, N.).

Checker Cab and others alleged that Uber engaged in unfair competition in violation of Pennsylvania common law by operating a taxi service that violated state and local cab ordinances. Uber opposed the taxicab companies’ motion for preliminary injunction, arguing that the unfair competition claims were unlikely to succeed.

The alleged violations of local and state taxicab regulations could not support the unfair competition claim because enforcement of those regulations falls to state and local regulatory authorities, according to the court. Courts have consistently held that laws may not be used to allow judges to interpret and enforce municipal regulations. Nor may plaintiffs use the courts to obtain remedies over and above those afforded by the regulations. A similar case in Illinois against Uber was dismissed based on the court’s determination that state consumer protection laws may not be used to bring claims against Uber for taxi and livery regulation violations. The issues involved were best left to state and local legislative bodies and the regulatory bodies charged with implementing and enforcing taxicab regulations, according to the court.

Checker Cab was unable to show it would suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction, according to the court. Because it was not entitled to a presumption of harm, Checker Cab was required to show immediate irreparable harm. The loss of business stemming from Uber’s allegedly illegal operations was purely economic in nature. If proven, the injury alleged was compensable by a monetary award. Therefore, the injury was not irreparable.

Although the court declined to issue a preliminary injunction, the ruling did not dispose of the case on the merits.

The case is No. 14-7265.

Attorneys: Michael S. Henry (Salaman Grayson & Henry PC) for Checker Cab Philadelphia, Inc., AF Taxi, Inc., and AGB Trans, Inc. A. Scott Bolden (Reed Smith LLP) for Uber Technologies, Inc. Stephen A. Swedlow (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP) for Google Ventures, LLC.

Companies: Checker Cab Philadelphia, Inc.; Uber Technologies, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory StateUnfairTradePractices Advertising RICO PennsylvaniaNews

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