THE GEORGIA SUPREME COURT MAKES WAY FOR RIDE-SHARING

In Abramyan v. State of Georgia, Case No. S17A0004 (decided May 14, 2017), the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a claim by Atlanta taxi cab drivers that a Georgia law allowing ride sharing services resulted in an unconstitutional taking of their property.

Prior to May 2015, Georgia law authorized local governments to regulate taxi cabs and vehicles for hire. Pursuant to that state law, the City of Atlanta had adopted regulations governing taxi cabs and vehicles for hire and had capped the authorized number of such vehicles in Atlanta to 1600. In May 2015, a new state law authorized the operation of ride sharing services in Georgia, exerted exclusive state control over such services and prevented local governments from regulating them. The ride sharing services could compete against the 1600 authorized operators free of local regulation. Certain holders of Atlanta taxi cab licenses challenged the law allowing such ride sharing services and preempting local regulation, contending that allowing this new competition amounted to a taking of their property interest in their taxi cab licenses.

The Supreme Court of Georgia rejected the taxi drivers’ challenge. The Court concluded that the plaintiffs’ right to operate their taxi cabs had not been affected. The Court found that the taxi cab operators had suffered no damage to a property right because they had no right to be protected from competition by additional providers. Opinion, pp. 6-7. The Opinion is available at http://www.gasupreme.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/s17a0004.pdf

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