United States: Fox Team Successfully Stops Rollout Of Standardized Taxis In New York
Last Updated: April 14 2015

A Fox Rothschild LLP trial team led by Brett A. Berman, Mitchell Berns, Abbey True Harris and Thomas L. Mueller, won an emergency stay on behalf of clients Greater New York Taxi Association (GNYTA) and Gene Freidman.

The Taxi of Tomorrow program, spearheaded by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), has been at the center of a years-long dispute involving the mandated switchover by the city's taxi drivers to the new Nissan NV200 after retiring their current cabs. In a decision handed down on March 31, the New York State Court of Appeals granted the Fox team a stay, effectively halting the proposed April 20th rollout of the Taxis of Tomorrow program.

In opposition to the TLC's argument that the cab uniformity resulting from the mandated switchover would increase passenger safety and comfort, thereby meeting the TLC's specifications, Fox argued that the TLC is not authorized by law to force a specific vehicle on cab drivers and cab companies. The stay will protect Fox's clients and other industry members from being required to purchase taxis under the program until the Court of Appeals rules on its legality.

"We are pleased that our motion was granted today. The Taxi of Tomorrow program has been flawed from the beginning, as it forces owners to purchase a single foreign-made vehicle, which is neither fuel-efficient, nor wheelchair accessible. The currently proposed program grants a single company a government mandated monopoly for ten years. It eliminates the freedom of business owners to choose the vehicle of their choice. An appointed administrative agency overriding an important public policy decision made by publicly elected representatives creating a monopoly for a foreign company should be concerning to all New Yorkers," said Evgeny Freidman, a board member of GNYTA, and a major NYC medallion owner.

"Even though the court decided to hear this case, the TLC was wrong to rush to force medallion owners to buy new flawed vehicles. We believe we will win this case on its merits, and urge the TLC to await a full ruling from the court system," said Ethan Gerber, Executive Director of GNYTA.

On behalf of the Fox team, Berns will be arguing the substantive appeal before the Court of Appeals in September.

Berns, a partner with the firm, is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in financial services, complex derivatives, securities and commercial matters. He has represented and defended large companies, senior executives and financial institutions in complex litigation in federal and state courts, and arbitration and mediation proceedings. Berns has secured multimillion-dollar recoveries on behalf of defrauded investors and professionals in complex actions against broker-dealers, investment managers, accounting firms and others.

Berman, a partner with the firm, serves as a trusted adviser to his clients on a variety of commercial and business litigation matters. In addition to handling all types of business litigation, he frequently represents his clients in multimillion-dollar cases related to shareholder disputes and construction and real estate litigation, including construction defects, violations of the Condominium Act and breaches of fiduciary duties by board members.

Harris, an associate with the firm, focuses her practice primarily on general litigation matters and has extensive experience with appellate work and administrative law as well as in brief writing, especially related to complex cases.

Mueller, an associate with the firm, focuses his practice on a broad range of litigation issues and disputes. He has significant experience analyzing and litigating insurance disputes, particularly concerning life insurance policies and structured settlement annuities.

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