45 Philadelphia Cab Companies Sue Uber

Forty-five Philadelphia taxi companies have sued Uber, alleging the company has been illegally operating a taxi service without medallions.

Uber was sued in federal court yesterday by 45 Philadelphia cab companies. In the lawsuit, the cab companies allege Uber conspired to operate a taxi service without obtaining medallions.

At issue is the company’s UberX service, which launched in late October. The service is illegal in Philadelphia, which led to a PPA sting operation where UberX cars were impounded.

The complaint uses harsh language to describe Uber. It opens with: “Not since the days of bootlegging has there been a criminal enterprise so brazen and open as to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from investment bankers and to operate in blatant violation of federal and state law as Uber.”

The lawsuit also accuses Uber of false advertising. When Uber announced Philly UberX service in October, it did so with this message:

In October, the largest taxi insurer in Pennsylvania went bankrupt. Many uninsured taxis are still on the road; though some may have new policies, there’s no guarantee that your taxi ride will be insured.

The lawsuit calls this “literally false,” saying all cab companies obtained new insurance immediately after First Keystone Retention Group, a major taxi insurer, was liquidated. The lawsuit also targets Uber’s CEO and its investors.

Last month, the state’s Public Utility Commission ruled UberX could operate in Pennsylvania — but not Philadelphia, where the Parking Authority regulates taxis. Despite its ongoing feud with the PPA, UberX is available for hire in Philadelphia.

In another, unrelated suit against Uber, a Philadelphia model has sued Uber and the driver after she says an Uber Black driver punched her on the 1300 block of Sansom Street in July, dislocating her nose. That driver, Djamel Khelife, faces trial next month on assault charges.

[Courthouse News Service]