In their ongoing attempts to show just how clueless they can be about the current state of their own industry, a pair of San Francisco cabbies have lawyered up and hit Uber with a class action lawsuit claiming the taxi and limo-hailing app is stealing business from local taxi drivers.
The suit was brought by local cabbies Leonid Goncharov and Mohammed Edine (both drivers for Luxor) on behalf of all their Crown Vic comrades and was filed in California Superior Court. In the complaint, Corte Madera attorney Gary Oswald claimed Uber is operating in violation of the city's taxi laws by not taking cash and not using old-school taxi meters. Which is tragic because we would love to sue the countless taxis who still refuse to take a credit card in the year 2012.
In a statement, Uber called the suit "baseless," while touting the "tens of thousands" of riders who have been spared embarrassingly late arrivals and the thousands of drivers who have found a new source of income thanks to the company's smartphone app. The suit also loses a little of its class action punch considering Uber is already working directly with several hundred local cab drivers in addition to the fleet of SUV and town car drivers they became known for.
The suit claims that the techy transportation company "attempts to spin any criticism as 'anti-technology' and is willing to say whatever it needs to at any given moment to achieve Uber’s economic goals." The suit also alleges that Uber steals passengers and income from "legally sanctioned taxicab drivers who are literally playing by the rules." Meanwhile, Oswald will have his work cut out for him defending the taxi drivers against the inevitable wave of the future: the well-funded startup has already responded by retaining the services of superstar attorney John Quinn, named one of America's most influential lawyers by the National Law Journal last year.