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Uber Scores Victory in N.Y. Medallion Case

(CN) - Credit unions who lend Yellow taxicab drivers the money to buy medallions from the City of New York cannot revive their attempt to compel the city to enforce street hail exclusivity law allegedly bypassed by Uber, a state supreme court judge ruled.

The decision by Judge Allan Weiss, of the Queens Supreme Court, upheld a previous decision allowing Uber to continue using electronic or "e-hails" to pick up passengers in New York.

Melrose Credit Union and three other taxi medallion financers sued Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission on May 27, 2015, "to prevent the imminent collapse of the taxicab medallion market, and along with it, the entire taxicab industry."

Judge Weiss dismissed the case in September 2015, but the lenders appealed based on a Sept. 22, 2015 decision by a federal judge in Chicago who sided with taxi medallion owners in a similar case filed against the city of Chicago.

According to an order to show cause filed by the credit unions in October, the federal court's ruling arose from the "application of burdensome regulations on the taxi industry but not on transportation network providers such as Uber Technologies Inc."

The credit unions argued that if this ruling had been made before Judge Weiss's decision, the outcome of their own case would have changed.

The New York medallion financers also pointed out that the federal court found "no material difference between raising your arm to hail a cab on a street corner and putting your location in an app with a request for immediate transport."

But, ultimately, neither of these arguments convinced Judge Weiss.

"The Illinois Federal Court's decision does not constitute new evidence or, in anyway, change or undermine the law upon which this Court's decision was based," he wrote.

In regard to the District Court's view on e-hails being no different than regular street hails, Judge Weiss added that "this court respectfully disagrees."

"Street hails serve to benefit passengers in locations where cabs are available. Electronic dispatches via app. allow passengers, who have not prearranged for transportation, to secure immediate livery assistance at any location," Weiss wrote.

City Attorney Michelle Goldberg-Cahn told Courthouse News that the city is "gratified that the Court again has ruled that the TLC has acted lawfully and within its authority to further the interests of the riding public."

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