The Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office filed lawsuits in September against eight people accused of illegally driving or lending cars to be driven for Uber in unincorporated parts of the parish.
Earlier this year, the Parish Council rejected an ordinance sponsored Council Members Cynthia Lee-Sheng and Ben Zahn. This measure would have made it legal for Uber and other ride-hailing services to operate in unincorporated parts of Jefferson. Additionally, it would have required drivers to undergo lengthy drug tests that Uber itself opposed.
However, this ordinance was defeated after parish taxi drivers complained they would be at an unfair disadvantage against the city’s taxi service due to the expensive rules that govern the taxi business.
Despite defeat, Uber and its subsidiary, Raiser, came to Jefferson Parish anyway.
Lee-Sheng says that the company would not even be in Jefferson if her ordinance had passed because the required drug tests were opposed by Uber’s policies.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t get a regulatory framework in place,” she told the Louisiana Record.
Upon its arrival, one cab union delivered a petition with more than 100 signatures demanding that the parish enforce the cease-and-desist letter that Parish Attorney Deborah Foshee’s office sent to Uber and Raiser.
Foshee at first refrained from enforcing disciplinary measures, said that the people who would be punished would be regular, everyday citizens – not Uber’s corporate bosses in California.
However, after Danny Hebert from Metro Cab showed up at the council chambers in Elmwood, Foshee decided to file allegations that carry a fine of up to $500 against the eight individuals.
The allegations are messy because other communities in Louisiana have legalized Uber. State Police are reluctant to cite Uber drivers without clear laws regarding its legality.
Moreover, Uber has been known to operate unilaterally in communities across the nation that have refrained from legalizing its service.
The Parish Attorney’s office would not comment at the time because the matter is pending litigation.