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Greater New York Taxi Ass'n v. State

Court of Appeals of New York

June 6, 2013

GREATER NEW YORK TAXI ASSOCIATION et al., Respondents,
v.
STATE of New York et al., Appellants, and Livery Base Owners Inc. et al., Intervenors-Appellants. Taxicab Service Association et al., Respondents,
v.
State of New York et al., Appellants, and Livery Base Owners Inc., et al., Intervenors-Appellants. Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade et al., Respondents, and The Livery Roundtable, Inc., et al., Intervenors-Respondents,
v.
Michael R. Bloomberg, as Mayor of the City of New York, et al., Appellants, and Livery Base Owners Inc., et al., Intervenors-Appellants.

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[970 N.Y.S.2d 910] Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York City (Scott Shorr, Leonard J. Koerner and Francis F. Caputo of counsel), for Michael R. Bloomberg and others, appellants in the first, second and third above-entitled actions.

Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York City (Richard Dearing, Barbara D. Underwood, Andrew W. Amend and Claude S. Platton of counsel), for State of New York and others, appellants in the first and second above-entitled actions and intervenor-appellant in the third above-entitled action.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP, New York City (Stephen L. Saxl, Israel Rubin and Ryan F. Harsch of counsel), for Livery Base Owners Inc. and another, intervenors-appellants in the first, second and third above-entitled actions.

Mintz & Gold LLP, New York City (Steven G. Mintz and Lisabeth Harrison of counsel), for respondents in the first above-entitled action.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, New York City (Randy M. Mastro, Akiva Shapiro, Paul Kremer and Seth Rokosky of counsel), for respondents in the second above-entitled action.

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, New York City (Richard D. Emery of counsel), for respondents in the third above-entitled action.

The Shanker Law Firm, P.C., New York City (Steven J. Shanker of counsel), and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (Robert Balin of counsel) for intervenors-respondents in the third above-entitled action.

Office of the Manhattan Borough President, New York City (Andrew L. Kalloch of counsel), for Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer in the first, second and third above-entitled actions, amicus curiae.

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OPINION

PIGOTT, J.

[993 N.E.2d 396] At issue on this appeal is the constitutionality of chapter 602 of the Laws of 2011, as amended by chapter 9 of the Laws of 2012 (" HAIL Act" ), which regulates medallion taxicabs (or " yellow cabs" ) and livery vehicles, vital parts of New York City's transportation system. The Act's stated aim is to address certain mobility deficiencies in the City of New York, namely: the lack of accessible vehicles for residents and nonresidents with disabilities; the dearth of available yellow cabs in the four boroughs outside Manhattan (" outer boroughs" ), where residents and nonresidents must instead rely on livery vehicles; and the sparse availability of yellow cab service outside Manhattan's central business district [1] and the two Queens airports, locations where close to 95% of yellow cabs pick up their customers ( see Sponsor's Mem., Bill Jacket, L. 2012, ch. 9).

I

Because the HAIL Act arguably affects the yellow cab and livery vehicle enterprises in significant ways, we first address the [993 N.E.2d 397] [970 N.Y.S.2d 911] traditional distinctions between them before addressing the substance of the Act itself. Both enterprises are regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), but are subject to different rules of operation.

Yellow cabs operate under a transferable license or medallion, which is a numbered plate issued by the TLC that is affixed to the outside of a taxicab as physical evidence that the taxicab has been licensed to operate as a medallion taxicab ( see 35 RCNY 51-03). These cabs are metered vehicles that must charge uniform rates ( see Administrative Code of City of N.Y. ยงยง 19-502[k]-[1];

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; 19-514[a]; 35 RCNY 58-38). They possess the exclusive right to pick up passengers pursuant to street " hails" from any location in the City ( see ...


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