Monday, July 15, 2024
Joseph Rucci of Conway Litigation presented the firm's overview on the recent Ottawa lawsuit at the May 30 CTA Zoom webinar. Image: CTA
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Conway and legal team on CTA Zoom

“Uber was a bandit Taxi company” and “Ottawa was negligent” groundbreaking statements

“Yes, Uber did ‘move fast and break things,’” lead counsel Tom Conway noted wryly on the May 30 CTA Zoom. “What it broke was the law.” Image: CTA

Tom Conway made two key points in his opening remarks on the May 30 CTA Zoom webinar. He and his legal team took two hours to explain the implications of the May 13th decision by Superior Court Justice Marc Smith, who wrote that “Uber was a bandit Taxi company” and “Ottawa was negligent.”

“No other court, as far as we know, has said this in such plain language, has gone on to find the regulator and the taxi industry responsible for the consequences of this rash, unprincipled approach, and its passive response to a company that had the hubris to believe it was somehow above the law,” Conway told Taxi operators from across Canada.

“That’s my first point. This is a groundbreaking decision, no doubt about it.

“My second point is this: these ground-shifting results would not have been possible without the courage, the commitment and, frankly, the intestinal fortitude of our clients, Marc Andre Way, Hanif Patni, Coventry Connections and all of the others who contributed their money and their time to what you will hear in more detail was a truly uphill battle.

“From the beginning, they knew that the goal that they had set for themselves was going to be a huge challenge. But they faced that challenge with flint-like attitude, which made our job so much easier.

The next critical element, he noted, was “an excellent legal team, and we had that with Marion Sandilands, Abdalla Barqawi, and Joseph Rucci.”

Marion Sandilands of Conway Litigation fielded questions for almost an hour on the May 30 CTA Zoom. Image: CTA

Conway is a co-founder of Conway Litigation, and spoke on the Canadian Taxi Association’s monthly Zoom webinar on May 30. Taxi operators from across Canada were on the Zoom, which represented the first national gathering of Taxi operators since Superior Court Justice Marc Smith released his May 13th 2024  judgement in the lawsuit which was filed in 2016.

“Yes, Uber did ‘move fast and break things,’” Conway noted wryly, reiterating the firm’s dubiously-stated business strategy. “What it broke was the law.”

After his brief remarks, Conway turned the floor over to Marion Sandilands and Joseph Rucci, who delivered an information-intensive overview of the lawsuit from its filing in 2016 to its decision on May 13th. Sandilands also offered some suggestions on what will occur next with the court file, and what events other municipalities should monitor.

“For example, we have Toronto reviewing its by-law, thinking about putting caps on ride shares, and bringing back all the sorts of things that were part of taxi regulation. That process is open right now, and Toronto is generally the leader in these kinds of things.

Government relations specialist Jeffery Polowin. Image: Edelman

“I’m wondering if the ‘channel might be changing’ on some things like that, and if we are starting a new kind of policy moment about taxi and rideshare regulation again.”

The legal team from Conway Litigation was joined by Government Relations specialist Jeffrey Polowin, who touched on the GR aspects of regulating Uber. Polowin supported Coventry Connections with lobbying activities at Ottawa Council throughout the period of the lawsuit and for many years before; he is optimistic about future events.

“I would say that we’re in a pretty good position right now, in terms of moving forward on this,” Polowin told the group.

Click here to read Conway’s May 30 CTA presentation