NYC Cabbies Gain Speed in Fight for Due Process
MANHATTAN (CN) - New York City cabdrivers who were arrested and immediately had their licenses suspended may soon get a trial in their seven-year challenge to the policy, a federal judge ruled.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) suspension policy takes effect regardless of whether the alleged felony or misdemeanor occurred when the drivers were on duty. It also gives the commission power to suspend drivers who fail drug tests, even if they have do not face accusations of driving under the influence.
Jonathan Nnebe and three other taxi drivers challenged the policy in a 2006 federal complaint that has been batted around the district and appellate levels over the years.
In 2008, another group of drivers led by Saul Rothenberg raised a separate challenge to the TLC's practice of revoking the licenses of drivers who fail drug tests or are convicted of certain offenses.
Last year, the 2nd Circuit ruled in that case that the TLC's "post-suspension hearings" did not need to show that the criminal allegations against the drivers were true. The hearings needed only to determine whether the charges as alleged showed that the drivers posed a risk to public safety.
Meantime, parties to the 2006 case presented more evidence for U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan.
Sullivan denied summary judgment to both parties Thursday, setting the stage for a possible trial.
"The question of whether the city meaningfully considers evidence other than the fact of arrest is a factual one, and from the evidence in the record, it is genuinely in dispute," Sullivan's 12-page order states (emphasis in original).
Gabriel Taussig, chief of the NYC Law Department's administrative law division, called the decision "simply an indication that the case is going to trial."
It also "limits the issues that will be heard at trial," Taussig added.
Lawyers for the drivers did not return a request for comment.