City of Edmonton versus Uber: the debate heats up in court
WATCH ABOVE: A judge heard from Uber and City of Edmonton lawyers during an injunction hearing Thursday. Eric Szeto has the details.
EDMONTON — If the City of Edmonton wants Uber to stop operations, it might have some work to do after an injunction hearing Thursday.
Uber lawyer Neil Finkelstein argued the City of Edmonton named the wrong corporate entity in its application, and Justice M.G Crighton seemingly agreed during the hearing.
Brad Savoury – a lawyer with the City of Edmonton – argued Uber Canada is operating without proper licenses and is therefore illegal. The city wants the company to stop recruiting drivers, deactivate accounts and its app.
Uber argued Uber Canada cannot to control its app and cannot deactivate accounts nor does it deal with recruiting. Finkelstein said other Uber entities performed those functions so an injunction against Uber Canada would not work.
Savoury accused Uber of playing a “shell game.”
Justice Crighton seemed to agree with Uber’s reps; however, argued the proper Uber entities were not named in the application so if an injunction were granted it could be easily overridden. Justice Crighton reserved her decision for a later date.
“We pursued what we believed to be the appropriate entity,” said Scott Mackie, City of Edmonton Planning Manager. “Certainly we’ll await the judge’s decision on whether that was the right approach. And if through the judge decision we find out that the courts believed we took the improper approach, then we’ll adjust the approach.”
Uber has been operating in Edmonton since December 2014.
According to the city, there has been only one Uber enforcement sting – a 77-minute blitz in January which generated six tickets for three drivers. An Uber driver previously told Global News $1,400 fines issued by the city are paid for by Uber.
The city would not say if it plans to step up enforcement but did say it is considering changes to the wording in city bylaws.
The city is also seeking a permanent injunction against the ride-sharing company, but a date for that has yet to be set.
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