NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans cab driver is suing the City of New Orleans after his credentials to operate a taxi cab in the city were revoked after 30 years.
West Maison filed suit to appeal the decision of the Department of Safety and Permits in the Orleans Civil District Court on Dec. 10, 2013.
Maison alleges that he received a letter stating that the city's Taxicab Bureau had recommended the suspension and/or revocation of his certificate of public necessity and convenience (CPNC) number (671), after holding it for 30 years. On July 11, 2013, Maison asserts that he appeared without counsel at a due cause hearing before Jared Munster, director of the Department of Safety and Permits. He claims the letter cited a violation of the code through a delinquency penalty following expiration of his CPNC. Maison also filed a motion for stay of execution of judgment on Dec. 10. He claims irreparable harm would result in his suspension of his CPNC number. On Feb. 18 a hearing was scheduled for March 14 to demonstrate why the motions for stay should not be granted.
The DSP is accused of violating Maison’s constitutional rights to due process by failing to comply with the Louisiana Administrative Procedures Act. Additionally, the suit alleges the city violated his rights by creating a conflict of interest as the DSP was receiving legal advice from the city attorney prosecuting such matters. The suit claims the DSP and its employees serve as the investigators, prosecutors, witnesses, judge and jury. Maison claims he was never told he had the right to be represented by legal counsel at his hearing.
Maison is represented by Ike Spears of Spears & Spears of New Orleans.
The city replied on March 6 to oppose the stay, arguing that Maison has not demonstrated any real reason for a stay. The City of New Orleans asserts that injunctive relief does not just require demonstration of irreparable harm but also that he is entitled to the relief sought and will likely prevail.
The City of New Orleans claims the decision to revoke Maison’s CPNC number was not capricious, but in response to the fact that Maison submitted false and misleading information. The Nov. 7 letter indicated that the decision to revoke his CPNC number was due to the fact that he attempted to deceive the Bureau by submitting vehicle information for a vehicle that had been declared totaled in a prior accident. The City of New Orleans claims the appeal process that is in place is sufficient legal recourse and by allowing for an injunction the court would throw the entire process the city uses to enforce its laws into question.
The city is represented by Mark Daniel Macnamara, deputy city attorney, and Sharonda R. Williams, city attorney.
Case is assigned to Division I Judge Piper D. Griffin.
Case no. 2013-11655.