United States: Uber, Lyft And The Rise Of The Sharing Economy In Florida

Last Updated: December 23 2015
Article by Eric C. Morales

Popular ride sharing services Uber and Lyft have been operating in Florida for a year and a half, and residents have eagerly embraced this new form of transportation. Uber and Lyft are part of a new segment of the economy, often dubbed the "sharing economy." The popularity of these companies and other asset sharing peer-to-peer services has spread not just across Florida or the United States, but all over the world.

In 2013, The Economist magazine estimated the value of this portion of the digital economy to be $26 billion. By 2014, venture capitalists estimated Uber's value at approximately $18.2 billion dollars, and Uber's CEO cited revenues that were doubling every six months as a basis for that valuation. Though that growth sounds extraordinary, forecasts are projecting the trend to continue. In ten years, experts estimate the total value of the sharing economy will hit $335 billion.

Despite a bullish outlook and warm welcome from locals, the initial reaction from local governments and law enforcement to the introduction of this new technology was not enthusiastic. In June of 2014 Miami-Dade law enforcement was running sting operations to catch drivers using Uber and Lyft to connect with users looking for rides. If drivers were caught using the service, they were fined as much as $2,000 and their cars were impounded. A year and a half later the relationship between these ride sharing services and local government is still on shaky ground.

Although the sting operations have ceased, individual counties are still locked in heated debates between consumers and other interest groups about how to deal with the regulation of this new business. In an attempt to bypass regulation at the county level, Uber lobbied the state legislature early this year to pass laws that would trump county regulations and establish the legality of the services statewide. In the House of Representatives, HB 817 sought to pre-empt all local regulation, along with imposing strict background checks and insurance requirements. In the Senate, SB 1298 and SB 1326 dealt mainly with insurance requirements and did not have a pre-emption clause. Despite wide support, both bills ultimately stalled and the session ended before either could be passed. The failure of the legislature to pass any new laws left counties in a perilous position, as they tried to manage the exponential growth of these services in the face of some vocal opposition.

That opposition, not surprisingly, is coming almost exclusively from taxi, limousine, and car for hire companies. Those companies argue that Uber and Lyft must be regulated as traditional taxicab companies to ensure public safety and fair competition. The proposed legislation, particularly HB 817, would alleviate concerns about safety as it requires existing insurance coverage gaps be closed and level II background checks for drivers. In reality, it appears the main concern of taxicab companies is the part about fair competition. In fact, those same companies have filed lawsuits against the State in Tallahassee and Broward County, alleging that Florida officials are not requiring Uber and Lyft to prove the accuracy of the way they calculate trip distances and charges. The lawsuit further claims that the state's failure in this regard puts taxicabs at a competitive disadvantage.

On the other hand, public support for ride sharing is impressive. As of the date this article was written, a petition started by Uber to have the legislature take up and pass ride sharing laws during its special session has 65,290 signatures. The target goal for the petition was to obtain 50,000 signatures. Similar petitions are started each time a county tries to ban or regulate these companies. When Uber pulled out of Broward in July due to allegedly onerous regulations, a petition to change course and bring Uber back quickly gained 96,507 signatures. Broward County returned to the negotiating table and Uber has announced it will resume operations there.

Although Uber and Lyft are two of the most visible and powerful companies that make up the sharing economy, small startups are coming online all the time. As an example a Miami based company, Peer-to-Pier Technologies, LLC, recently launched BoatDay, an app aimed at bringing boating to the masses by connecting boat owners looking to subsidize their costs, with users looking to get out on the water.

BoatDay's founder, Kimon Korres, believes this is a glimpse into the future of business and offered the following outlook:

  • Sharing economy companies have created immense new sources of value simply by exploiting inefficiencies in peoples' use of their own property. They can also scale online with relatively low costs, and quickly reach millions of users. Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have shown that when you get this combination right, rather than simply capture existing demand in a particular market or industry, you can create new demand on a wide scale, which is when you start to see these $1billion plus valuations in just a few years. While the many misses show that not everything lends itself to 'sharing', relative to the traditional business challenges of financing asset acquisition and building infrastructures, the structure and successes of many sharing models means they are unlikely to go away any time soon.

As a lawyer himself, Korres understands the legal wrangling surrounding this debate, but feels that it will ultimately get resolved in favor of innovation.

Whether Uber and Lyft's opponents like it or not, at this point it seems that change is inevitable. As a legal community, we need to start getting ready for this shift as well. As use of these services grows and new services are invented, business opportunities will grow with them. Law firms throughout Florida need to be ready to meet the challenges presented by the sharing economy. Who will a Plaintiff sue when a ride sharing vehicle is involved in accident? What variables will go into that decision? Questions attorneys will need to ask could include any number of facts. For example, was the vehicle owner actually driving a user to a destination or just logged onto the app and waiting for a ride request? The same variables might be considered by a defendant trying to find insurance coverage or coverage counsel deciding what policy was triggered. Where might vicarious liability, if any, exist? What holes are there to plug or exploit to get clients the best result possible? Law firms ahead of the curve will be at a distinct advantage in tapping into that $335 billion dollar economy projected for 2025.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Eric C. Morales
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.