Victory for free speech and economic liberty, Chicago passes ordinance allowing commercial advertising in rideshare vehicles

CHICAGO (Dec. 11, 2018) – In a victory for free speech and economic liberty, the City of Chicago passed an amendment to allow commercial advertising in and on rideshare vehicles as part of its 2019 Revenue Ordinance. Previously, Chicago prohibited commercial advertising on or in rideshare vehicles, but allowed commercial advertising on taxis and personal vehicles. The Liberty Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit in February 2017, Vugo, Inc. v. City of Chicago, challenging the commercial ad ban on behalf of Vugo, Inc. and rideshare drivers as a violation of their free speech rights.

As a result of the City’s about-face on the unconstitutional measure, attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the City of Chicago agreed to dismiss the federal lawsuit in Vugo, Inc. v. City of Chicago. The case was also joined by Chicago-based law firm LegalRideshare, who intervened on behalf of rideshare driver Murray Meents.

The amendment allowing commercial advertising in and on rideshare vehicles is a victory for Vugo, Inc. and rideshare drivers across Chicago. The Liberty Justice Center and LegalRideshare filed this case because the city unfairly and unconstitutionally prohibited rideshare vehicles from having commercial advertisements in or on vehicles, when it allowed such advertising on taxicabs, and other commercial and non-commercial vehicles. The amendment eliminates the discriminatory treatment of rideshare drivers and reasonably accommodates commercial advertising in and on rideshare vehicles.  

James Bellefeuille, plaintiff and Founder of Vugo, Inc.: “We at Vugo are grateful to the Liberty Justice Center for representing us. The City of Chicago’s reversal on the rideshare advertising issue is a victory for rideshare drivers, the rideshare advertising industry and entrepreneurs and startups throughout the United States.”

Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney for the Liberty Justice Center said: “We are glad the City of Chicago recognized that it needed to remove its unconstitutional ban on commercial advertising in and on rideshare vehicles. This is a victory for all rideshare drivers in Chicago, and for free speech and economic liberty.”

Bryant Greening, attorney at Legal Rideshare, attorney for the plaintiff intervener, said: “Rideshare drivers are always looking for creative ways to supplement their income and improve their quality of life. Allowing advertisements on Uber and Lyft cars is one step towards strengthening the driver community.”

 

For media enquiries contact Kristen Williamson at media@libertyjusticecenter.org or 773-809-4403 or Bryant Greening at Bryant@legalrideshare.com.