Case Files

  • Second Circuit Reverses Trial Court; Grants Additional Attorney Fees

    August 2022

    In this action, Rizwan Raja, a longtime industry representative entitled to appear for clients at the OATH Taxi and Limousine Tribunal, was awarded summary judgment on his claim that defendants' suspension of his right to practice without a hearing denied him due process of law. Following that ju... Read On

  • Raja Granted Summary Judgment as OATH suspended and sought to revoke his license without a Hearing

    February 2020

    2020 WL 568236 Only the Westlaw citation is currently available. United States District Court, E.D. New York. Rizwan RAJA, Plaintiff, v. John W. BURNS and the City of New York, Defendants. 19-CV-01328 | Signed 02/05/2020 Attorneys and Law Firms Daniel L. Ackman, New York, NY, for Plaint... Read On

  • Second Circuit Decision Holding that the TLC Suspension Process was Unconstitutional

    The Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York City (the “TLC”) has the authority to issue, revoke, and suspend taxi drivers’ licenses. These tandem cases require us to examine the TLC’s suspension procedures under the Due Process Clause to determine whether the TLC provides meaningful hearings to drivers whose licenses have been suspended pending the outcome of criminal proceedings. We conclude that it does not. We first determine that evidence of a driver’s ongoing danger to health and public safety is relevant under the statutory and regulatory scheme. We then conclude that, in light of the significant private interest at stake, the unacceptably high risk of erroneous deprivation, and the fact that additional safeguards can be provided with minimal burden on governmental resources, the TLC’s refusal to consider such evidence violates due process. Accordingly, in Nnebe we AFFIRM in part and REVERSE in part the judgment of the district court, we AFFIRM in part and REVERSE in part the judgment in Stallworth, and we REMAND both cases to the district court for further proceedings. Thus, by reading the Rule as a whole and consistently with the Ordinance under whose authority it was promulgated, we conclude that the individual circumstances underlying a taxi driver’s suspension are relevant to the statutory scheme and to the role that a due process hearing is designed to play when a person is threatened with the loss of a valuable property interest. As noted above, the Ordinance bespeaks a clear intent to leaven the Commission’s eagerness to discipline drivers with greater concern for drivers’ rights. Indeed, the City Council embedded its concern into the text of the Ordinance in the form of a legislative “find[ing] that certain of the rules promulgated within the past several months by the [TLC], such as those that modify the disciplinary measures that may be imposed against taxicab and for-hire vehicle drivers, taxicab and for-hire vehicle owners and taxicab medallion owners are onerous.” N.Y.C. Code § 19-512.1, n.1 (1999).19 Suspensions continued due to arrests alone, with no meaningful ability to contest the TLC’s determination that the licensee poses a threat, would appear to be just the kind of “onerous” disciplinary measure that the City Council passed § 19-512.1 to eliminate. As we have already stated in this case, “the private interest at stake . . . is enormous ¯ most taxi drivers rely on the job as their primary source of income and often earn the sole income for large families in a city where the cost of living significantly exceeds the national average.” Nnebe II, 644 F.3d at 159 (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, we have previously held that this factor favors more extensive process where the interest at stake is “operating a business and . . . pursuing a particular livelihood.” Spinelli v. City of New York, 579 F.3d 160, 171 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, “[t]he Supreme Court has ‘repeatedly recognized the severity of depriving someone of his or her livelihood.’” Id. (quoting FDIC v. Mallen, 486 U.S. 230, 243 (1988)); see also Brock v. Roadway Exp., Inc., 481 U.S. 252, 263 (1987); Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 543 (1985); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 264 (1970). Thus, while we take seriously the Government interest implicated, we hold that, given the potential of conducting far more meaningful hearings at little or no additional financial or administrative cost to the TLC, that interest is outweighed by the private interest at stake and the unacceptably high risk of erroneous deprivation. In Nnebe II, we reserved the question of “whether a hearing that does nothing more than confirm the driver’s identity and the existence of a pending criminal proceeding against him would in fact be adequate process to allow the City to suspend a driver’s taxi license until the criminal charges are resolved.” Id. at 161. We now decide that, under the circumstances presented here, given the high risk of erroneous deprivation of the driver’s livelihood for a period of months, and under this particular statutory regime that emphasizes the danger of licensure to the public health and safety, a hearing that in effect conclusively presumes that suspension is appropriate based solely on the abstract relationship of the elements of a charged offense to safe driving provides inadequate process. As in Krimstock, a taxi-driver’s license can be suspended without any independent determination of probable cause, and the deprivation could last weeks or months. And while the TLC Rule does provide a prompt postdeprivation hearing, as discussed above, that hearing is meaningless. Here, as in Krimstock, a lengthy deprivation of property, based on an arrest without a judicial determination of probable cause and without a deeper inquiry into whether the deprivation is appropriate, violates the Constitution’s guarantee of procedural due process. Read On

  • Medallion Auction Cases

    January 2023

    Taxi medallion buyers sue City and TLC for breach of contract and violations of the General Business Law Read On

  • Nnebe v. Daus, 06 civ. 4991 (RJS) – AND –​ Stallworth v. Joshi, 17 civ. 7119 (RJS) SDNY

    July 2019

    These twin actions challenge the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's practice of suspending the license of any taxi drivers who has been arrested, but who has been convicted of nothing. After the suspension, the TLC offers the cabbie a putative “hearing” to determine whether that suspen... Read On

  • ​Padberg v. McGrath-McKechnie, 00 civ 3355 (RJD) EDNY

    This federal class action successfully challenged a policy instigated by Mayor Giuliani—dubbed Operation Refusal— by which the TLC suspended hack licenses without hearings, confiscated taxicabs and sought license revocations—all for a single alleged service refusal offense. At least 100 drivers h... Read On

  • Calvo v. City of New York, 14 civ 7246 (VEC) – and – DeCastro v. City of New York, 16 civ 03850 (RA) SDNY​

    For years, the City of New York and the TLC routinely seized automobiles that it suspected were operating for-hire without a license. They did so without a warrant, without a pre-seizure hearing, and without judicial imprimatur of any kind. It would then hold the vehicles effectively for ransom u... Read On

  • ​​Rothenberg v. Daus, 08 civ 00567 (SHS) SDNY

    Rothenberg v. Daus challenged the TLC's practice of automatically revoking the license of any taxi driver are convicted of an off-duty crimes or who fails a drug tests, despite the absence of any evidence, or even allegation, that the driver harmed or threatened harm to any passenger or was ever ... Read On

  • El Boutary v. City of New York, 18 civ 3996 (ARR) EDNY

    December 2018

    After a lesbian couple accused an Uber driver of evicting them from his car and after they posted a video of their berating the driver on social media, the story was reported around the world, leading to the TLC summarily suspending the driver without any investigation whatsoever. After a ruling ... Read On

  • Singh v. Joshi, 15 civ-5496 (FB) EDNY​​​

    Summary Judgment Brief, 2016 Read On

  • Kurman v. Schnapp, Index No. 602086-2009, NY County Supreme Court

    Appeal Brief, 2010​​​First Department Decision, 73 A.D.3d 435 (1st Dep't 2010)​​ Read On

  • Ackman v. Giuliani

    New York County Supreme Court Decision, NYLJ March 17, 2000 Read On

Contact Me Today

I'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

Menu