Uber is facing a multimillion-dollar joint legal action by taxi drivers in Toronto, Ontario. The ride-sharing company is being accused in a class action lawsuit filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice of having created “an enormous marketplace for illegal transportation”.
Filed by law firm Sutts, Strosberg LLP, the accusers seek $307 million in damages and a ruling banning the company from offering rides in the entire province of Ontario. Jay Strosberg, a partner at the law firm, said the case represents all taxi drivers and companies in the province and if a judge agrees to hear the case, drivers and companies can choose not to be involved.
Named plaintiff Dominik Konjevic claims Uber violates the Highway Traffic Act by having unlicensed drivers transport riders in exchange for payment, action the lawsuit says has diverted “millions of dollars of revenue away from properly licensed taxicab, limousine owners and drivers in Ontario.”
The move comes after a provincial court had rejected the city's bid to stop Uber's services in Toronto earlier this month, citing there was no evidence it operated as a taxi broker. "This protectionist suit is without merit," Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Heath said. "As we saw from a recent court ruling in Ontario, Uber is operating legally and is a business model distinct from traditional taxi services.”
Uber has faced opposition from taxi firms around the world, including violent protests in France. The company argues that it is not a taxi business, but a communications network that connects riders and drivers, and therefore is not subject to the same regulations as taxi firms.
Last week, a California judge ruled Uber must suspend operations in the state within 30 days over their parent company's refusal to supply data required by 2013 legislation. The company received some rare good news yesterday, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped his proposed bill that would have capped Uber’s growth in the city.