Federal jury upholds Metro's minimum fares on 'for-hire' transportation

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 5:22pm

Metro Nashville’s minimum fares for non-taxi “for-hire” transportation companies were upheld by an eight-member jury on Friday after a three-day trial.

Metro Livery, a black-car, for-hire vehicle company, sued the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission in 2011 over the $45 minimum fare. The plaintiffs claimed Metro was practicing economic protectionism for cab companies and high-end limo companies.

But on Friday, a federal jury in Nashville ruled in Metro’s favor after deliberating for nearly three hours. U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp complimented both sides’ legal representation after the decision. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm in Seattle, represented the Nashville limo companies.

Sharp upheld the minimum fares by striking down a preliminary injunction last year but said the MTLC’s use of verbatim language proposed by the Tennessee Livery Association, a lobbying arm for high-end limo companies, was a “bit fishy.”

Metro attorney Keli Oliver said the Metro legal team was “very pleased” and “satisfied with the outcome of the process.”

“This law was wrong when it was passed, it is wrong today and it’s going to continue to be wrong until it comes off the books,” said Wesley Hottot, attorney for the Institute for Justice. “Our clients are committed to continuing to provide folks with affordable transportation options in Nashville and we’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them until they can continue in the business.”

Hottot said they haven’t decided whether or not to appeal the case. 

10 Comments on this post:

By: Shadow63 on 1/25/13 at 5:42

I can't see where forcing a minimum fare is constitutional.
I smell a rat.

By: Ask01 on 1/25/13 at 7:18

I agree, Shadow63.

One has to wonder when it became against the law to be compettitve and offer service at a lower rate to attract customers.

Anytime government establishes or supports a minimum price for a commodity or service, one has to wonder if some questionable practices are in play.

Just because a judge rules in favor of something doesn't establish a practice as right, only legal for the moment.

I don't trust, or have much respect, for most judges anyway, and this doesn't garner any brownie points.

The very fact that Metro government has a hand in the affair convinces me there is a skunk in the henhouse.

By: WickedTribe on 1/26/13 at 8:32

This sounds completely insane to me. We need to make this an issue in future Metro Council elections.

By: Ask01 on 1/26/13 at 9:42

I agree WickedTribe.

I would personally love to see the council forced to explain publicly, on the record, some of the silliness.

Even more dear to my heart, would be to see them all thrown out next election cycle.

By: bfra on 1/27/13 at 7:20

Ask01 - Your "throw them all out" is the best solution to this current "Karl's puppets" council. They are the biggest bunch of nothings ever put in office!

By: M Banks on 1/27/13 at 5:26

Metro Council should celebrate to legalize price-fixing!!! Can you trust Karl Dean in US-congress? Being anti free markets!

By: Ask01 on 1/28/13 at 4:43

I wouldn't trust Mayor Karl Dean to be a street sweeper, pooper scooper, or seller of "The Contributor."

By: Loner on 1/30/13 at 11:25

So, if it costs the consumer $45, just to open the door and get in the transporting vehicle, one wonders who will be attending conventions in Nashville's new Convention Center....let the word go out....Nashville is out to exploit and gouge visitors and Metro government is orchestrating the massive rip-off.

Booking the convention in a city other than Nashville will save conventioneers lots of hard-earned cash.....once again, Metro is acting in a foolish and counter-productive manner....Why? Because the politicians are in bed with the mob....WAKE UP!!

By: Loner on 1/30/13 at 11:30

Was the purpose of this minimum fare law to keep the Negroes out of the taxicabs and limos and confined to Metro buses? It certainly looks that way....this is segregation by another name.

By: Loner on 1/30/13 at 12:00

Mayor Dean did not like the idea of trying to swim in the Cumberland River....wearing cement shoes....thus, he is an advocate for price gouging......to "protect" the consumer, of course.....the man is dirty....he's gotta go!