Milwaukee Taxis

Ghaleb Ibrahim v. City Of Milwaukee
Challenging Milwaukee’s Unconstitutional Taxicab Law

Ghaleb Ibrahim taxi driver

IJ Client Ghaleb Ibrahim

Private companies cannot use governmental power to outlaw competition, yet this is what the city of Milwaukee did for its established taxi cartel.

Until the Institute for Justice won its lawsuit against the city, Milwaukee allowed only 321 taxicabs on its streets—almost half of which are owned by a single owner.  That is about one cab for every 1,850 residents, one of the highest ratios in the country.  This cap on taxi permits sent permit costs skyrocketing, from $85 to $150,000—putting the dream of owning a taxi business out of most people’s reach.

Ghaleb Ibrahim is a Milwaukee entrepreneur who simply wanted to own and drive his own taxicab.  He had the means to operate safe and insured taxis, but the cap on the number of cabs meant his dream could not become a reality.  If he wanted to drive a cab he had to do it for someone else at a hefty rental price.

It did not have to be that way.  Ghaleb and two other taxi drivers sued the city, and in April 2013 a Milwaukee County judge struck down Milwaukee’s taxicab cap as unconstitutional under the Wisconsin Constitution.  The city then lifted the cap, making the dreams of many taxi drivers like Ghaleb come true, and providing more transportation options for Milwaukee residents.  


Essential Background


Background on this case

Client Photo

Latest Release: Milwaukee Taxi Owners Sue to Block New Law (August 25, 2014)

Client Video

Video: Rally and press conference before the summary judgement hearing (April 16, 2013)
Video: Taxi Lottery (March 17, 2014)

Launch Release: Milwaukee Cab Drivers Join Forces with IJ In Major Legal Challenge to City’s Unconstitutional Taxicab Law (September 26, 2011)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Complaint (Filed September 27, 2011)

Court ruling (April 16, 2013)

Complaint (August 25, 2014)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


September 27, 2011

Court Filed:

Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin


Victory in Circuit Court:
Judge rules cap on taxicabs unconstitutional

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: City of Milwaukee Completely Repeals Taxi Cap (July 22, 2014)

Five Things to Know

Release: Milwaukee’s Common Council Allows 100 More Taxis on City Streets (November 26, 2013)

Institute for Justice City Study: Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepreneurs

Release: Court Orders Milwaukee to Cease Enforcing Cap on Taxi Cabs (May 30, 2013)
Release: Court Breaks Open Milwaukee’s Taxi Cartel (April 16, 2013)

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Release: Cab Drivers Suspended for Free Speech (November 2, 2012) Article: Milwaukee's Taxi Monopoly Comes Crashing Down The Real Clear Politics Blog (September 10, 2014)
Release: State Assembly Vote Could Make Milwaukee’s Bad Taxi System Worse  Legislation Would Allow a New York City-style Medallion System (February 17, 2012)  Article: Another court battle: Taxi owners not happy cap has been lifted WITI-TV (August 25, 2014)
Article: Cab companies sue city to stop ordinance that would change taxi industry Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (August 25, 2014)
Article: Milwaukee lifts cap on taxi limits Wisconsin Radio Network (July 23, 2014) 
Article: Eyes on Milwaukee: Uber and Lyft Legalized in Milwaukee Urban Milwaukee (July 22, 2014)
Article: Milwaukee Common Council unanimously lifts cap on taxi permits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (July 22, 2014)
Article: Milwaukee Ends the Taxicab Cap Shepherd Express (July 22, 2014)
Article: Council action would open new era for taxis, ride-sharing in Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (July 21, 2014)
Article, Video: Court orders Milwaukee to cease enforcing cap on taxi cabs FOX 6 (May 30, 2013)
Editorial: Lift the cap on permits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 28, 2011)
Audio: Lawsuit Challenges Taxi Permit Cap; WUWM - Milwaukee Public Media (September 28, 2011)
Article: Cab drivers to sue Milwaukee over limit on permits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 26, 2011)

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