A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit by the Boston Taxi Owners Association against the city of Boston because a new state law bars the city from regulating "transportation network companies" such as Uber and Lyft.
The association had sued Boston in federal court last year, charging the city was violating their due-process and equal-protection rights by not applying the same sort of rigorous regulations and background checks to the new breed of transportation companies as it does with medallion cab owners and drivers.
But in a ruling today, US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the suit is now moot because of a new state law that establishes certain minimum standards the companies and their drivers must meet also creates a new state division to regulate the companies and specifically bars cities and towns from trying to impose their own regulations.
Anticipating that, the medallion owners pointed to a clause in the new law that does let municipalities regulate "traffic flow and traffic patterns," but Gorton said stretching that to cover such things as driver licensing would "render the entire regulatory scheme of the Act nugatory and would 'frustrate' the purpose of
the statute." Therefore, Gorton continues:
Because local regulation of TNCs is preempted by the new state law, plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief are moot.