Taxi drivers united in class action demand that the City pay promptly for damages after suspension of their licenses

More of 5,600 taxi drivers and limousines from the Big Apple, united in a collective lawsuit against the City, demanded this Monday that the Municipal Administration reach an agreement and compensate them for the damages they have suffered due to the suspensions of their driving licenses, when they have been arrested by complaints from passengers and others, many of which were eventually dismissed. It is estimated that 90% of the cases against drivers arrested were without merit or reduced to minor infractions and 80% of alleged crimes occurred out of order.

With banners where They asked for “respect and dignity” their rights, dozens of wheel workers gathered in Foley Square, in Manhattan, to remind the City and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) that a judge declared the suspension of licenses unconstitutional, a fact that in the last almost 20 years has left thousands of taxi drivers without the right to work, suffering from a lack of income.

The affected drivers also recalled that all those drivers who in their working career have been the victim of the suspension of their licenses after police arrests, between 2003 and 2020regardless of the status of the criminal case, have until next January 13 to join the class action to demand monetary damages.

This is how he stated Bhairavi Desai, president of the organization New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA)who explained that since 2003, about 20,000 taxi drivers their licenses have been suspended due to arrests, before the drivers were convicted or even tried, and without even considering the criminal history, which he sees as an unfair act, where the presumption of innocence does not prevail.

Drivers lives turned upside down, some to the point of ruin, from losing their jobs overnight. Professional New York City drivers are at their majority immigrants of color, and their rights were trampled,” said the activist, who urged the City to make an agreement instead of each driver going to individual hearings. “Compensating for all that suffering and recovering lost revenue is just a sample of what the city needs to do.”

Francisco Guzman, He has experienced that drama firsthand, as he narrated that last February, without even working as a taxi driver, but using a vehicle for a part-time job, he was arrested by the police in Brooklyn after a woman reported him for allegedly assaulted her on the street. Since then he has been suspended his driver’s license and the TLC permit to drive a taxi, plunging into a crisis due to lack of work and income.

“We demand that they treat us with respect. How is it possible that before the police investigate things well, for anyone who says that one assaulted them, they immediately arrest you and take away not only your license but your TLC license as well. That has to change,” said the Mexican, who had been a taxi driver for more than 14 years and spent three days in prison. “They took me to court, I had to get into debt by hiring a lawyer and in the end the inquiries were made, they spoke to witnesses and they saw that I had not done anything, but for months I have been without money, without a job, I owe months of rent, no I have nothing for Christmas and TLC still hasn’t returned my license. They have to compensate us“.

Alvaro Crow, another of the affected drivers, who is part of the class action, a legal action that seeks to claim damages for more than $100 million dollars for all driversHe also requested that changes be made to the suspension of taxi drivers’ licenses.

When my license was suspended, I couldn’t pay my bills and got into a lot of debt.. I felt that I had no rights, that there was no justice, because they presumed me guilty before I could prove my innocence, even though I had no criminal record or previous arrests,” said the Latino driver. “The TLC treated me like a parasite and it was demeaning and dehumanizing.”

Agmed Elsherifanother of the taxi drivers who lost his license after being arrested, asked the police and the TLC to improve their action and investigation protocols, since he claimed to have been arrested when he was the victim of a passenger, a fact that he documented with images.

Dan Ackmanlawyer for the drivers, asked all the drivers who have been affected to contact his office to fight for what belongs to them and criticized that so many years have passed without things being resolved.

“This case took too long, but it finally came to the right place. Our hope now is for the court to find a way to award damages quickly and fairly and as many victims as possible”, said the defender.

Mexican taxi driver Francisco Guzmán

Shannon Liss-Riordananother of the class action attorneys, added that for too long, the City has been mistreating professional drivers and depriving them and their families of a livelihood and now is the time to act.

“The court ruled in favor of the drivers and it is time for the City to finally recognize that, treat them fairly and compensate them for their losses,” the attorney said.

The Mayor Adams Administration passed the matter to Taxi and Limousine Commissionan agency that warned that currently the handling of these cases is in accordance with the law and the Constitution, but did not specifically speak of the claim for compensation from the plaintiffs.

“The procedures have evolved since the start of this lawsuit 17 years ago, and all the processes we have today are constitutional,” he said. Jason Kersten, TLC spokesperson. “We take the rights of our drivers seriously and are committed to their fair treatment. This Administration has gone above and beyond to provide financial support and better working conditions for drivers.”

The TLC further mentioned that the Court has yet to finalize the procedures to address the remainder of this case and the organization of the hearings.

Egyptian taxi driver Agmed Elsherif showed the damage he suffered

Facts about drivers’ long battle for compensation

  • 2006, through the NYTWA, a group of drivers filed a lawsuit over the constitutionality of TLC’s license suspensions upon being arrested
  • In 2019, a federal appeals court found the suspension policy unconstitutional.
  • In 2020, a federal district court certified this case as a class action involving drivers who were suspended between 2003 and 2020.
  • 5,600 drivers have joined the lawsuit currently
  • 20,000 are the drivers who have been affected by these measures
  • 90% of cases against arrested drivers had no merit or were reduced to minor infractions
  • 1,300 drivers were suspended for 1,000 days or more
  • 70% of arrest charges were misdemeanors
  • 80% of alleged crimes occurred off-duty.
  • January 13, 2023 is the deadline for more drivers to join the class action
  • To join the lawsuit you can visit the website:
  • You can also email [email protected]
  • You can call the firm of Lichten & Liss -Riordan, PC at 929-477-9200.
  • They may also contact the New York Taxi Workers Alliance at 718-706-9892 or [email protected]

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