Metro Nashville’s minimum fares for non-taxi “for-hire” transportation companies were upheld by an eight-member jury on Friday after a three-day trial.
Metro Livery, a black-car, for-hire vehicle company, sued the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission in 2011 over the $45 minimum fare. The plaintiffs claimed Metro was practicing economic protectionism for cab companies and high-end limo companies.
But on Friday, a federal jury in Nashville ruled in Metro’s favor after deliberating for nearly three hours. U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp complimented both sides’ legal representation after the decision. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm in Seattle, represented the Nashville limo companies.
Sharp upheld the minimum fares by striking down a preliminary injunction last year but said the MTLC’s use of verbatim language proposed by the Tennessee Livery Association, a lobbying arm for high-end limo companies, was a “bit fishy.”
Metro attorney Keli Oliver said the Metro legal team was “very pleased” and “satisfied with the outcome of the process.”
“This law was wrong when it was passed, it is wrong today and it’s going to continue to be wrong until it comes off the books,” said Wesley Hottot, attorney for the Institute for Justice. “Our clients are committed to continuing to provide folks with affordable transportation options in Nashville and we’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them until they can continue in the business.”
Hottot said they haven’t decided whether or not to appeal the case.