Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Newark pays $300,000 to taxicab company that alleged licensing discrimination

On June 7, 2012, the City of Newark (Essex County) agreed to pay $300,000 to a taxicab company who sued the City and its Taxicab and Limousine Commission for unfairly applying its licensing laws against it.

In its suit, Jacob's Limousine Transportation, Inc. said Newark "thwarted and rejected" its efforts to get licenses so that it could lawfully operate taxicabs in the city.  Despite the trouble that the city allegedly gave to it, Jacob's Limousine claims that city officials "have allowed numerous other autocab, limousine, and livery services companies to operate in and on Newark's streets and highways without complying with, and in blatant violation of, the requirements of the Newark Code for the operation and licensing of autocab, limousine, and livery services companies to operate in and on Newark's streets and highways."

In addition to the $300,000 payment, Newark also agreed to permit Jacob's Limousine to "register, license, and operate up to 150 vehicles" until August 31, 2014. 

The case is captioned Jacob's Limousine v. Newark, Federal Case No. 09-cv-6331 and Jacob's Limousine's attorney was Jeffrey Kantowitz of Florham Park.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Jacob's Limousine's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $300,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Newark or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Newark or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Jacob's Limousine $300,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.