Bokhari v. Nashville
Nashville’s Sedan Drivers Fight City Effort To Run Them Off the Road
IJ Client Ali Bokhari
|Video: Drive to Freedom, Defending Economic Liberty in Nashville
Can government force transportation businesses to charge a minimum price to protect politically connected companies from competition?
That is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) and its clients sought to answer in a federal court challenge to Nashville’s limousine and sedan regulations.
Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services in Nashville were an affordable alternative to taxicabs. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of anti-competitive regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association—a trade group formed by expensive limousine companies. These regulations force sedan and independent limo companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum.
The regulations also require limo and sedan companies to dispatch only from their place of business and require them to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than seven years old for a sedan or SUV or more than ten years old for a limousine.
These laws have nothing to do with public safety. Nashville could have limited its requirements to those regulations that are designed to genuinely protect the public’s health and safety, such as requiring insured and inspected vehicles, and driver background checks, but instead, Nashville is stooping to economic protectionism to put affordable car services out of business in favor of more expensive services that happen to have more political power. Many Nashville residents who regularly use limos and sedans are being forced to spend twice as much money for exactly the same service and hard-working sedan drivers are being driven out of business.
On April 20, 2011, the Institute for Justice teamed up with three Nashville entrepreneurs and filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to vindicate the right of Nashville’s limo and sedan operators to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulation.
The case culminated in a four-day jury trial in January 2013. Unfortunately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the government, upholding Nashville’s laws.