Cabbies Sue Uber in St. Louis Over Lost Business


Uber has been operating in St. Louis while being sued by the city's Taxicab Commission (and Uber is also suing back), but while locals continue to enjoy the ride-hailing app service, aggrieved taxi operators have joined the parade of lawsuits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Four taxi drivers are suing Uber and seeking class-action status, alleging they've seen up to a 40 percent dip in business since the ride-hailing service began operating in violation of local regulations.

The plaintiffs in the suit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court are Aaron Vilcek and Jeffrey Hamilton, drivers for St. Louis County Cab; Robert Glynn, who drives for Laclede Cab; and Douglas Uchendi, an ABC Cab driver…

The latest suit, which was filed Friday, alleges that Uber's service and its drivers are "functionally and legally indistinguishable" from taxi services and taxi drivers in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

"The purpose of the suit is to recognize that Uber is operating illegally and as a result of that, the existing taxi drivers are being harmed," said Gary Growe, the Clayton attorney representing the taxi drivers.

He said if class-action status is granted, the suit could cover the roughly 1,100 cabdrivers licensed by the taxi commission.

Since Uber began operating, the plaintiffs have seen a drop in revenue of 30 percent to 40 percent compared to the same time period last year due to a decrease in passenger calls, the suit alleges. It also says those drops were directly caused by Uber's entry into the local taxi market…

The plaintiff's individual damages are less than $75,000 each, the suit says, and the damages sought in a class-action case would be less than $5 million.

My 2014 feature on Uber and its competitors fighting to please customers against governments small and large.