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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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