Nashville Transportation Entrepreneurs Hit Government Roadblock

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · January 25, 2013

Nashville, Tenn.—Today, a jury ruled in favor of the Nashville government as part of a long-running dispute over the city’s limousine and sedan regulations. A group of the city’s transportation entrepreneurs and the Institute for Justice first filed suit in 2011 challenging Nashville’s minimum-fare law and other unreasonable restrictions on the city’s affordable car services. The decision means that for now Nashville’s $45 minimum fare for sedans and limousines will remain in place.

“Our fight isn’t over,” promised Ali Bokhari, owner of Metro Livery, which had charged as little as $25 for trips between the airport and downtown before the law had passed. “These laws were wrong when they were passed, they are wrong now and they will be wrong until they are struck down.”

The plaintiffs in the case had argued that the minimum-fare law, which was literally written by a lobbying group representing the interests of the city’s expensive limousine companies, did not advance any legitimate government purpose. The Court had previously ruled in the case that pure economic protectionism was not a legitimate purpose under the United States Constitution.

“Unfortunately, across the country, governments continue to pass protectionist laws at the behest of powerful private interests,” explained Wesley Hottot, the lead attorney on the case. “We remain committed to fighting back against encroaching government power on every available front.”

“Achieving economic liberty is a marathon and not a sprint,” explained Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Robert McNamara. “The jury’s verdict will neither stop nor slow our efforts to free transportation entrepreneurs here in Nashville and nationwide.”

“The Institute for Justice has fought for the rights of entrepreneurs for over 20 years, seeking to make sure that all Americans have the right to earn an honest living in the occupation of their choice,” concluded Institute for Justice President and General Counsel Chip Mellor. “As long as government officials insist on abusing their power, we will insist on holding them to account.”