More than 5,600 taxi and rental car drivers with arrests on their records claim the Taxi and Limousine Commission wrongly suspended their licenses as their criminal cases went to court – and are now seeking damages, lawyers told The Post.
The drivers’ suspensions – which occurred between 2003 and 2020 – were eventually resolved, but only after months of no work and an arduous court case, according to the taxi drivers concerned.
A federal judge ruled in 2019 that TLC’s license revocation filing process was unconstitutional because the agency refused to consider “evidence of a driver’s ongoing danger to health and public safety.”
Such evidence must now be considered as a result. Since then, the proportion of bans that are reversed has increased from virtually none to 65%, said Daniel Ackman, lead attorney for the class action lawsuit.
“The suspensions have all since been resolved in other ways, but what they need to do is pay damages to people who shouldn’t have been suspended in the first place, which I think almost all of them are,” Ackman said, referring to TLC officials .
“The TLC has no process for making someone sane.”
For-hire advocates estimate that over 20,000 drivers could be entitled to damages, which Judge Richard Sullivan, now of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, ordered to be decided separately from the main lawsuit.
At least 5,600 plaintiffs in the class action have registered for hearings in federal court in Manhattan to determine whether they are entitled to pecuniary damages, attorneys said.
Among them is Eddison Damian, 36, who said he was unemployed for three weeks in 2018 after TLC suspended his driver’s license and vehicle registration number over an arrest in a quickly dropped case.
It’s unclear what Damian, of Astoria, Queens, was charged with, but he said he was taken into custody after a man robbed and assaulted him in a supermarket – and then released a day later when a judge heard the case .
“The next day they said, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Damian. That should never have happened. Go home,’” he recalled. “TLC, they immediately suspended my license. My wife was getting her bachelor’s degree. I was the only income in the house.”
Other drivers who wish to sign up for the effort have until Jan. 13, said Bhairavi Desai, director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
“These hearings were sham,” Desai said. “TLC has not conducted proper hearings to determine whether or not someone actually meets the rule’s criteria for a suspension.”
TLC did not comment on Sunday.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/11/over-5600-nyc-cabbies-seek-damages-over-post-arrest-license-suspensions/ More than 5,600 New York City cab drivers are suing for damages after being arrested for having their license revoked