TLC Class Action Lawsuit
Miller, et al. v. City of New York, et al., No. 23-cv-00065 (E.D.N.Y.).
Mobilization for Justice (MFJ), Gupta Wessler PLLC, and Pollock Cohen LLP represent four plaintiffs in a proposed class action lawsuit against the City of New York and the Commissioner of the TLC. The case challenges the TLC’s policy and practice of targeting drivers in undercover street hail operations and issuing them unconstitutionally excessive civil penalties. The plaintiffs allege that these operations primarily target people of color and/or immigrants and non-English speakers and are used by the TLC to pad its own coffers on the backs of low-income New Yorkers. The plaintiffs are represented by Belinda Luu, Mike Litrownik, and Bernadette Jentsch at MFJ, Peter Romer-Friedman at Gupta Wessler PLLC, and Chris Leung at Pollock Cohen LLP.
The four plaintiffs allege that they were targeted by undercover TLC officers who aggressively solicited rides from them for money by appearing to be desperate travelers in need of rides from the airport. These TLC officers then issued them TLC summonses for allegedly violating the City’s Street Hail Law, even when the plaintiffs repeatedly declined to give a ride to the officer or accept any money. These Street Hail Law violations carry a minimum penalty of $1,500 and can result in the suspension of a driver’s DMV License and vehicle registration. Based on the TLC’s own data, the City has collected millions of dollars from drivers the TLC has targeted in these sting operations.
The four plaintiffs are all men of color, one of whom is a native Spanish-speaker with very limited English proficiency. Two of the plaintiffs were targeted by undercover TLC officers after dropping family members off the airport. Two of the plaintiffs was targeted after dropping off rideshare passengers. The plaintiffs will seek to certify a class of all individuals who received Street Hail law summonses through an undercover TLC operation since January 5, 2020, and who have paid, agreed to pay through a settlement, or been ordered to pay a civil penalty of at least $200.
Gothamist, Undercover investigators entrap people of color through illegal cabs crackdown at NYC airports: lawsuit, https://gothamist.com/news/undercover-investigators-entrap-people-of-color-through-illegal-cabs-crackdown-at-nyc-airports-lawsuit
DocumentedNY, Immigrant Drivers Fined by New York TLC Police in Sting Operations, https://documentedny.com/2023/01/06/new-york-tlc-immigrant-drivers-fines-sting-operations-police/