Federal judge dismisses cab owners' lawsuit against Uber

A federal judge has tossed out a Philadelphia taxi company's lawsuit that claimed Uber was trying to destroy the taxicab business.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly dismissed the case Friday, according to court documents.

Sergei Lemberg, the lawyer representing the owners of the small cab business, Coachtrans, said he was seeking certification from Kelly of certain issues in the case, so an appeal could be pursued in Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

"The vast majority of medallion owners in Philadelphia and also in other cities are small-time immigrants," Lemberg said, adding that his clients, Boris and Alla Kautsky, depended on their three cab medallions for income.

"That's their entire life's work, their life's savings," he said.

A spokesman for San Francisco's Uber Technologies Inc., Craig Ewer, said the suit was resolved properly.

"We're pleased with the judge's decision to dismiss this meritless suit," Ewer said in a statement Monday.

The Kautskys, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine, said in their lawsuit that their taxi medallions had plummeted in value since Uber began operating in Philadelphia. They reported a 30 percent decline in profits over the last year.

Medallions sold for as much as $545,000 as recently as July 2014. The Philadelphia Parking Authority plans to conduct an auction for medallions specifically for handicapped-accessible vehicles, and they are expected to start at $10,000.

The Kautskys particularly pointed a finger at Uber's lower-cost UberX service as a major source of harm to their business. UberX drivers use their own cars to transport people who order rides through the company's app.

Kelly's decision gave the Kautskys 14 days to amend their complaint. Any appeal would likely be filed after that deadline expires, Lemberg said.

He also may look at regulatory and constitutional challenges to Uber, he said.

jlaughlin@phillynews.com

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@jasmlaughlin