Contract; Breach; Class Action; Certification; Standing.
By: Rachel Allen┃Managing Editor
Putative class plaintiff moved for class certification in his suit against defendants, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Chairman and Commissioner of the TLC, and Transportation General, Inc., alleging breach of contract.
In 2002, the New York City Council enacted legislation that created the “wheel chair accessible medallion” for wheelchair accessible vehicles. Defendant TLC is responsible for issuing these medallions. Defendant TLC contracted with defendant Metro Taxi to run the dispatch program, which allowed disabled passengers to arrange for a wheelchair accessible taxicab ride. Defendants implemented a standardized system to determine operating costs and owner’s fees for the dispatch program.
Plaintiff owns several taxicab medallions and alleged defendants breached provisions of the contract, specifically provisions relating to record keeping and fare calculation, and conspired to reap illegal profits at the expense of all taxicab medallion owners. Plaintiff argued, as a medallion owner, he was a third-party beneficiary who had an enforceable right under the contract.
Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment, arguing the contract specifically negated claims by third party beneficiaries to assert rights and, therefore, plaintiff lacked standing to sue under the contract. The court denied plaintiff’s motion for class certification, holding the contract expressly negated any third-party beneficiary claims and was not created with the intention of benefiting taxi medallion owners as third party beneficiaries. The court further held plaintiff was no more than an incidental beneficiary, at most, as the owner’s fee system was in place to standardize the operating costs of the dispatching program. Accordingly, the court determined plaintiff lacked standing to assert any claim under the contract and granted defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment.
Evgeny “Gene” Friedman v. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, et al., Index No. 653966/2013, 8/11/14 (Schweitzer, M.).