Latimer LeVay Fyock, LLCLatimer LeVay Fyock, LLC

LLF Settles Taxi Medallion Lawsuit For Confidential Settlement Amount

Most lawsuit settlements bridge the gap between a plaintiff’s claimed losses and a lesser amount the defendant is willing to pay to make the case go away. Recently, however, LLF’s Alexander Passo and Joanna Kopczyk obtained a settlement on the eve of trial in a taxicab medallion dispute that validated four years of litigation.

The firm represented a company that owned a Chicago taxicab medallion. Like many medallion owners in the city, the client did not want to operate a taxi using the medallion, nor did it want to manage a driver operating a vehicle using the medallion. As such, it contracted with a taxicab medallion management company to oversee its use.

When the client advised the management company that it wished to sell the medallion at market price, the management company pledged to look for a buyer on the client’s behalf. However, the management company made no attempt to find a buyer, knowing that it would lose the revenue from the medallion if it were sold. It did not present a single offer to the client even though over 80 medallions were bought in Chicago for more than six figures during the time it was supposed to be seeking a purchaser.

Shortly thereafter, the market for Chicago taxicab medallions crashed due to the rise of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, and the value of the client’s medallion plummeted by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

No e-mails or written agreements existed confirming that the management company agreed to sell the medallion; there was only a single text message regarding the topic. As a result, the medallion manager took the position that he never agreed to sell the medallion. Needless to say, the case was not an easy one to prove and would turn on who was more credible.

On behalf of the medallion owner, the firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of the client against the management company, alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims arising from the defendants’ misrepresentations regarding selling the medallion.  The claimed damages were in excess of $300,000 and the medallion owner also claimed punitive damages due to the Defendants’ fraudulent representations. During discovery, the firm was able to demonstrate that the tax returns the defendants produced were false, and obtained sanctions against the defendants for their misconduct.

Ultimately, a day before the scheduled trial, and as a result of the firm’s aggressive efforts in the case, the Defendants inquired whether the Plaintiff would agree to mediate the case before a former judge that day. No prior settlement offers had ever been made in the case.  The mediation began at 5:00 p.m. and concluded at 8:30. The client obtained a substantial settlement figure that more than justified bringing the action and litigating the matter for several years.