In Julie Crowe v. City of Bloomington, the Liberty Justice Center represented Julie Crowe who was denied a license to start a vehicle-for-hire business based on a local law that allowed city officials to keep competitors out of the market to protect established businesses.
The article below by Rachel Wells appeared September 4, 2013, on Pantagraph.
BLOOMINGTON — The city will look to change its rules for licensing party buses and other vehicles for hire rather than appeal a judge’s ruling last week that its current rules are unconstitutional.
The city also will grant Julie Crowe the right to operate her late-night shuttle business if she provides proof of liability insurance and her 15-passenger van passes a city vehicle inspection, City Attorney Todd Greenburg said.
Crowe sued the city in February 2012 after it denied her application for a “certificate of convenience” that would allow her to operate a vehicle for hire. The city argued the market already was saturated and Crowe’s finances were too precarious, but a McLean County judge last week said the city denied her due process and the city’s ordinance lacked objective standards.
Mayor Tari Renner said aldermen in an informal polling said they did not wish to appeal the decision.
Greenburg said the vehicle-for-hire rules, adopted in 2007 and amended in 2010, were modeled on the city’s older taxi rules, so the City Council, as a result of the ruling, likely would look at changes to both sets of regulations at its Sept. 23 or Oct. 14 meeting.
Taxi companies must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but vehicles for hire can only operate from 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 4 a.m. the next morning and the businesses are allowed primarily to transport people to and from the downtown bar district.
Greenburg said that going forward the city would look to include more guidance on the optimum number of vehicles for hire and establish the ability of applicants to cross-examine witnesses and provide rebuttal testimony in the hearing process.
Crowe’s lawyer, Jacob Huebert, said Crowe “wants to get started as soon as possible” and still has the shuttle she first sought to operate more than two years ago.
“It’s sitting in her garage ready to go, so I’m sure she’ll be getting all that stuff (insurance and inspection) together really soon,” he said.
Read the article on Pantagraph.