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Judge dismisses taxi company’s complaint

The N.C. Business Court recently dismissed a taxi company’s lawsuit against the city of Charlotte, imprisoned former Mayor Patrick Cannon, the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance and three taxi companies it accused of conspiring to unfairly influence the awarding of contracts for taxi service at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Khan Brothers Inc., which runs Diamond Cab, filed the suit in June claiming the process was tainted by Cannon, who is serving a federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to accepting money and gifts from developers, who were actually undercover agents, in exchange for using his position to help move their projects through city processes.

Khan Brothers Inc. claimed that people representing Cannon and the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance solicited political donations for Cannon from taxi companies, but that it declined to contribute. The company, which provided airport taxi service before June 2011, claimed that when contracts were awarded that year for airport taxi service, it was excluded because the other entities colluded to rig the process.

Judge Louis A. Bledsoe III on March 5 granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to allege or offer evidence to show that the taxi contract decision by the entire City Council was improper. “Because Plaintiff therefore has not shown a causal nexus between its alleged injury and Defendants’ alleged conduct, Plaintiff does not have standing to bring its claims,” he wrote.

The judge also pointed out that there were nine companies vying for three contracts. “It is simply a matter of speculation and conjecture that Plaintiff would have been awarded a new Taxicab Operating Agreement had Defendants’ alleged misconduct not occurred.”

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