July 24, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
A law firm with offices in Windsor, Ont. and Toronto has filed a $410 million class-action lawsuit against Uber X and Uber XL on behalf of all taxi and limousine drivers, owners and brokers licensed in Ontario.
Sutts, Strosberg LLP filed the lawsuit on Thursday with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the law firm said in a press release. It was filed on behalf of all “taxicab owners, taxicab drivers, taxicab brokers, limousine owners, limousine drivers and limousine service companies licensed, permitted or authorized to operate in the Province of Ontario.”
The release said that the “plantiff, Dominik Konjevic, a taxicab owner and operator, alleges that Uber Technologies, Inc., Uber Canada Inc., Uber B.V. and Rasier Operations B.V. (the defendants) and UberX drivers conspired, agreed or arranged among themselves to arrange, or offer to arrange, for a passenger to be picked up by the UberX drivers in a motor vehicle for transportation for compensation when they knew UberX drivers were not licensed under s. 39.1(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d) of the Highway Traffic Act causing the plaintiff and the class members to suffer damages.”
The lawsuit seeks $400 million in compensatory damages, $10 million in punitive damages and an injunction prohibiting UberX from continuing to operate in the Ontario.
Under s. 39.1(3) of the Highway Traffic Act, “no person shall arrange or offer to arrange for a passenger to be picked up in a motor vehicle other than a bus for purposes of being transported for compensation” unless the driver of the motor vehicle is licensed, permitted or authorized under s. 39.1(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d), the release noted. “The plaintiff alleges that the defendants conspired to arrange or offered to arrange for these passengers to be picked up by the UberX drivers, thereby diverting millions of dollars of revenue away from licensed taxicab, limousine owners and drivers in Ontario and injuring their ongoing legitimate business interests,” the law firm argues.
Law firm partner Jay Strosberg said that the lawsuit alleges that “Uber X and Uber XL has created an enormous marketplace for illegal transportation in Toronto. The courts have previously ruled that Uber Black, Uber SUV and Uber Taxi services do not contravene any municipal bylaws, however we are alleging that UberX and UberXL do not fall into the same category, and are in fact, blatantly in contravention of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and detrimental to the ongoing business interests of every taxi and limousine operator in the province,” he contended.
The release also argued that “many of the Uber Black, Uber SUV and Uber taxi drivers are properly licensed drivers who operate in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act governing the taxicab and limousine businesses in Ontario.” However, the Uber X and Uber XL drivers do not conform with s. 39.1(1) of the act, the lawsuit suggests.