Tag Archives: Lyft

ROIG Attorneys Publish Ridesharing Article in Daily Business Review

ROIG Lawyers Attorneys Cecile S. Mendizabal and Lissette M. Alvarez published the article, “Ridesharing Legislation May Trigger New Wave of Litigation” in the Daily Business Review.

ROIG Lawyers Summer Law Clerk Yasbel Perez also contributed to the article.

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Filed under auto insurance, Claims Handling, FL Legislation, Florida, Insurance, Insurance Claims, Insurance Defense, Personal Injury Protection, PIP, PIP/No Fault, Ridesharing, Transportation Network Companies

Taxi Companies Sue Miami-Dade For $1 Billion In Wake Of Uber Law

A class action lawsuit on behalf of three taxi cab operators is seeking up to $1 billion from Miami-Dade County, claiming a new county ordinance has severely decreased the value of the medallions required of cab owners.

The suit was filed one day after the Miami-Dade County Commission legalized ride-hailing providers such as Uber and Lyft.

“The effect of ‘regulating’ (Uber and Lyft) is to legalize, upon information and belief, upwards of ten thousand for-hire transportation providers in Miami-Dade County, and to thereby remove any and all disincentives or barriers to the increasing dilution of the for-hire transportation market in same,” the complaint states.

Lead plaintiff Miadeco Corp. brought the lawsuit along with B&S Taxi Corp. and Checker Cab Operations Inc.

“Give us equal protections under the law,” Coral Gables attorney Ralph Patino, who is representing the taxi companies, said at a news conference. “You cannot take away a property right without paying market value.”

The medallions, which were worth an average of $340,000 each in 2014, are necessary for the cab companies to operate. Taxi companies now say the medallions may only be worth $50,000. Patino said damages to the medallions would total $600 million to $700 million. He added that total is likely to reach $1 billion by the time a jury would hear the suit. Since county law treats the medallions as property, Patino is suing under the principal of inverse condemnation.

Taxi companies say Uber gets to play by different rules because the company’s fleet of part-time drivers, which number 10,000 in Miami-Dade alone, don’t need medallions. But Uber says the medallions allow cabs to park outside Miami International Airport and the area’s many hotels, whereas Uber drivers must be summoned first via the company’s phone app.

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Filed under Miami-Dade County, Transportation Network Companies

South Carolina Couple Sues Uber for Miami Beach Crash Aftermath

The Miami Herald reported on March 14, 2016, that Dr. Richard Day and wife Jean Day filed a lawsuit against Uber after being involved in a car accident.  Back in December, the couple traveled to Miami from South Carolina for a medical conference when they ordered an Uber. According to a police report and the lawsuit, the driver, Ingrid Parra, crashed when leaving the Eden Roc hotel in South Beach after failing to yield to oncoming traffic. While Dr. Day’s injuries included a broken leg, his wife received massive brain injuries that will require multiple surgeries.

This is the latest lawsuit against ride- sharing services involved in Miami Dade that points to drivers paying more attention to their smartphones than the road. This comes at a time when the county commission is considering legislation to regulate businesses such as Uber and Lyft.

The popularity of these ride-sharing services has skyrocketed in South Florida and across the country in recent years, but not without controversy. Back in November, Lyft was hit with a lawsuit by a family of a 29 year old woman after being thrown off her motorcycle when colliding with a ride share driver in Wynwood. Also, in January, Uber was sued by the relatives of a Miami Dade College student who was killed in a fiery crash in Kendall. The Uber driver was not faulted in this incident.

The predominance of ride- sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have given rise to fierce resistance from taxi drivers as well as local governments who struggle to legalize their procedures. Opposition to ride sharing services, claim Uber drivers violate vehicle for-hire rules, but the popularity has put enormous pressure on the commissioners. Broward County initially required fingerprinting the drivers but backed down when Uber threatened to leave the market last summer. After a Michigan Uber driver was arrested and charged with fatally shooting six people, Miami Dade commissioners have threatened to impose the fingerprinting requirement, which they will be voting on in May.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008), Transportation Network Companies

‘Uber Bill’ Cruises in Florida House

According to a Law360 article, on January 27, 2016, House Bill 509 passed through the state House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, requires drivers for transportation network companies (TNC’s) to pass background checks, obtain permits and meet insurance coverage minimums. The creation of H.B. 509 comes in response to concern from critics and supporters over TNC services being provided in compliance with state and local laws and making sure sufficient safety measures are in place.

“By cutting red tape for TNCs and other disruptive technologies, we are making Florida a state were innovation is welcomed and entrepreneurs are able to make their dreams a reality,” said Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island.

The passage of the bill gained support from leading service providers Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. as well as business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, and Governor Rick Scott.

Recently, the Florida Senate passed a similar bill, regarding insurance issues and TNC’s. Senate Bill (S.B.) 1118, sponsored by Senator David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, did not address permitting or background checks and notably did not include a provision in H.B. 509, which preempts local regulation on these services.

The two bills differ in their insurance requirements. H.B. 509 requires drivers or TNCs to provide at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage when the driver has the transportation network company’s app on but no passengers.  This is contrary to S.B. 1118 that calls for levels of $125,000, $250,000 and $50,000, respectively, any time they have their ride-hailing app turned on.

Matt Gore, general manager for Uber in Florida, said “We hope the Senate works quickly to take up this issue, and for Florida to join more than 20 states across the country that have permanently secured the benefits of expanded access to safe transportation options and flexible work opportunities.”

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008), Transportation Network Companies

Uber and Lyft Oppose Florida Push for Increased Insurance Coverage

Florida Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, is pushing for stronger insurance requirements for transportation network companies that connect drivers with passengers through smartphone apps. According to a recent article in the Herald-Tribune, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee supported the measure (SB 1298), despite opposition from Uber and Lyft—the two leaders in the burgeoning app-connected industry of for-hire drivers.

The proposed legislation would create the following distinctive coverage requirements:

  1. the “on call” period from when a driver is notified about a customer to pick up to when the passenger gets in the vehicle—which currently is considered a coverage gap
  2. when a customer is actually riding in the vehicle—called the ‘ride acceptance’ period

Sen. Simmons believes the proposal is necessary to protect people who may be harmed by ride-service drivers who are on their way to pick up a passenger. In addition, the proposed changes could protect the companies themselves if drivers bypass the app service and notify customers that they are available directly for future rides.

Lobbyists for the transportation network companies, however, dispute the necessity for “on-call” coverage, which they say, will lead to increased fares. Part of the success of Uber and Lyft is a result of traditionally lower fares than standard taxicab company rates.

Currently, these for-hire drivers only need the state minimum of insurance.

Under the proposed legislative bill, the driver or company would be required to carry liability coverage of at least $125,000 for death and bodily injury, at least $50,000 for property damage, and at least $250,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. When a passenger is riding in the vehicle, the coverage would jump to at least $1 million for death, bodily injury and property damage, and $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Taxi and limousine services, the majority of which are currently controlled by local governments, must carry policies under Florida law that include minimum limits of $125,000 per person for bodily injury, up to $250,000 per incident for bodily injury, and $50,000 for property damage.

The proposal, which still has to clear two additional Senate committees and has not been heard in the House as of yet, comes on the heels of industry requests for the state to clarify insurance requirements in the “for hire” transportation industry.

Click on the link for more information about Florida SB 1298, Insurance for Short-term Rental and Transportation Network Companies.

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Filed under FL Legislation