No surprises in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit's opinion in Checker Cab Operators, Inc. v. Miami-Dade County, No. 17-11955 (Aug. 6, 2018). As the caption suggests, this is another one of those takings claims brought by "traditional" taxicab operators against a local government for its refusal to keep ridesharing services from the market.
As in other cases (see our article summarizing several of them here), the court came down on the side of "no taking." The rationale was that owning a government-issued taxicab medallion, while "property," does not give the holder a property right to exclude others because the point of the medallion system was to protect consumers, not to give the taxis a monopoly:
Moreover, the main purpose behind the County’s medallion policy was not to enrich medallion holders, but rather to enhance consumer welfare. The County sought to “license and regulate the use of [for-hire transportation] vehicles to assure the passengers thereof, as well as others utilizing the streets of Miami-Dade County, that the vehicles are fit and that their operators and chauffeurs are competent to provide such services,” and “to improve the quality, efficiency and economy of for-hire [transportation] service.” Ordinance No. 00-139 (Dec. 14, 2000). The County hoped that the medallion system would serve as “an incentive for the taxi driver, who frequently constitutes a traveler’s first and last impression of Miami-Dade County, to provide courteous, safe and efficient transportation service” in a very busy tourist destination. Ordinance No. 98-105. It was entirely foreseeable that the County might erode those restrictions if consumer welfare (and demographic changes) demanded it. Once “new technologies, including [TNE] reservation and dispatch applications for wireless devices [were] developed to permit . . . more efficient reservation, dispatch, payment and utilization of for-hire vehicles,” the Medallion Holders should have anticipated that the County would authorize the TNEs’ market entry in order to benefit consumers, particularly since they have “become extremely popular across the United States.”
Slip op. at 19.
The entire opinion is worth reading, in our opinion.