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Yellow Cab v Uber

Yellow Cab v Uber

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Published by jeff_roberts881

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Published by: jeff_roberts881 on Oct 05, 2012
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07/10/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOISEASTERN DIVISION
YELLOW GROUP LLC; YELLOW CABAFFILIATION INC.; TAXI AFFILIATIONSERVICES LLC; YC1 LLC; 5 STAR FLASH, INC.; CHICAGO MEDALLIONONE LLC; and, YOUR PRIVATELIMOUSINE, INC.;Plaintiffs,v.UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,Defendant.))))))))))))))CIVIL ACTION NO.: 12-cv-7967
Jury Trial DemandedCOMPLAINT
Plaintiffs Yellow Group LLC (“Yellow Group”), Yellow Cab Affiliation, Inc. (“YellowAffiliation”), Taxi Affiliation Services LLC (“TAS”), YC1 LLC (“YC1”), 5 Star Flash, Inc.(“Flash”), Chicago Medallion One LLC (“CM1”) (Yellow Group, Yellow Affiliation, TAS,YC1, Flash, and CM1, are collectively referred to as the “Taxi Plaintiffs”), and Your PrivateLimousine, Inc. (“YPL” or the “Limo Plaintiff”) (all plaintiffs collectively referred to herein as“Plaintiffs”) complain against defendant Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) as follows:
 Nature of the Case
 1.
 
Uber acts and holds itself out as a transportation company whose business modelrevolves around a mobile phone application that allows consumers to request service from taxisor livery vehicles (SUVs or sedans often referred to as “Black cars”). Uber’s business modelrequires Uber to bypass the dispatch systems of legally operating taxicab and livery companies,such as Plaintiffs, and contract directly with the drivers of Plaintiffs’ vehicles. By contractingwith the drivers directly, without the knowledge or consent of Plaintiffs, Uber acts as a
de facto
 
Case: 1:12-cv-07967 Document #: 1 Filed: 10/04/12 Page 1 of 26 PageID #:1
 
2transportation company while promoting the false impression to the riding public that whenPlaintiffs’ vehicles respond to an Uber dispatch call, Plaintiffs are working with Uber.2.
 
By falsely creating the impression that Uber is associated with Plaintiffs, Uber gains the aura of legitimacy and avoids the costs and time necessitated by compliance with thelaws and regulations in the City of Chicago governing established, legitimate transportationcompanies. At the same time, Uber commits outright violations of the laws and regulationsgoverning legally operating transportation companies. All the while, the riding public isunaware of these legal violations because the Plaintiffs have wrongfully been portrayed asUber’s partner, thereby fraudulently lending the false impression that Uber is a complianttransportation services provider in the City of Chicago.3.
 
Uber unfairly competes with Plaintiffs by openly rejecting any notion of compliance with the ordinances and rules and regulations governing taxi and livery services inthe City of Chicago. Uber expressly violates the City code and ordinances by, among other things, dispatching livery vehicles and taxicabs under the same system and using illegal meteringdevices. Livery vehicles dispatched by Uber are violating city ordinances, which prohibitliveries from responding to street hails, including electronic street hails, a right reserved for medallion taxicabs. Uber also violates the city’s livery ordinances by charging a rate determined by mileage and waiting time, similar to the taxicab rate system, as opposed to the predeterminedflat rates required by the ordinances.4.
 
Uber’s unlawful business operations inject uncertainty and confusion into themarket as to the source of transportation services by dispatching vehicles under Plaintiffs’ colorsand trademarks. Uber also violates the established rules and regulations put into place to protectthe consumers, and conceals Uber’s lack of operational standards, all purportedly in the name of 
Case: 1:12-cv-07967 Document #: 1 Filed: 10/04/12 Page 2 of 26 PageID #:2
 
3technological advancement. While technology and innovation have the opportunity to enhanceindustries, such advancements cannot be made at the expense of consumer confusion and publicsafety.5.
 
Plaintiffs’ contracts with drivers require, among other things, that the driversoperate legally while driving Plaintiffs’ vehicles. By contracting directly with drivers for services that violate the laws of the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, Uber tortiouslyinterferes with the contractual relationship between Plaintiffs and the drivers.6.
 
Uber’s management has been openly critical of any regulation in general. Uber’sCEO Travis Kalanick (“Kalanick”) has stated publicly “I don’t understand regulators ... They areincredibly sensitive to what is in the public view. But if you only follow the rules, they willnever let you make the city a better place.” Uber attempts to spin any criticism as “anti-technology” and is willing to say whatever it needs to at any given moment to achieve Uber’seconomic goals. For example, in New York Uber has argued to regulators that its system merelyconstitutes an advance reservation for livery vehicles, but, when Uber wanted to expand to taxis,it took the inconsistent position that Uber’s system is a virtual hail.7.
 
In other instances Kalanick has taken to social media outlets such as Twitter toespouse his views on regulators when Uber receives any resistance. In one such “tweet”Kalanick states:8.
 
Uber’s business practices are in violation of the Federal Lanham Act, the IllinoisDeceptive Trade Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, and Illinois common law
.
 
Case: 1:12-cv-07967 Document #: 1 Filed: 10/04/12 Page 3 of 26 PageID #:3

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