1. Sacramento, CA
California Department of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued a press release today announcing his recommendations for requiring transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft to provide commercial insurance in order to ensure protection for passengers, drivers and pedestrians. According to Jones, TNCs should bear the insurance burden when they encourage non-professional drivers to use their personal vehicles to transport passengers for profit.
2. Houston, TX
Taxicab and limousine companies in Houston have filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Uber and Lyft. This type of civil lawsuit refers to the ongoing and intentional criminal practices of a party. Houston taxicab and limousine companies say Uber and Lyft are operating as for-hire vehicles without proper licenses, fee payment or insurance, and are not meeting the obligations of for-hire vehicles in Houston. They are seeking an injunction to stop the companies from operation.
3. Columbus, OH
The City of Columbus filed a lawsuit that seeks to bar uberX from operation. The lawsuit states that the public is at risk because the city is both unable to verify drivers’ backgrounds and conduct vehicle inspections. Officials have said that charging for uberX rides is illegal because their drivers are acting as unlicensed vehicles for hire, which in Columbus is considered a misdemeanor. In the meantime, the Columbus attorney’s office is requesting a temporary restraining order that will prevent uberX from operating until a judge can decide whether to grant the permanent order.
Of course, both companies are armed with war chests of hundreds of millions in venture capital funds--plenty to fund high-powered lawyers and lobbyists. They will undoubtedly fight these lawsuits tooth and nail. We’ll keep you posted.