As of Tuesday, November 25th, Uber could not operate in Nevada because of its failure to follow Nevada’s licensing rules. The District Court judge that heard the case determined that non-compliance with these licensing requirements could put the public’s safety at risk. Therefore, a preliminary injunction was granted and Uber is not permitted to operate in Nevada at this time pending further litigation.
The entire issue arose when Nevada’s attorney general filed a lawsuit stating the Uber encroaches on the franchise rights of taxi companies in Nevada. Because Uber’s services matches riders with drivers who use personal cars for a fee, the attorney general felt that it would be a direct conflict with the current Nevada Taxi companies who provide services for fare-paying customers under the oversight of Nevada law.
However, this has not stopped Uber from moving forward with plans to provide services to the State of Nevada. Recently, the company started an online petition trying to get 30,000 signatures. The intent is to show public support in making Uber legal in Las Vegas and all of Nevada. The petition is addressed to Governor Brian Sandoval and Catherine Cortez Masto, who is the Nevada Attorney General that started the legal dispute.
Uber argues that Nevada’s transportation services should not apply to it since its service is primarily a technology platform for drivers, and they are not technically a driving service. Uber also asserts that it provides protections, like preventing long hauling of passengers, that taxi companies have difficulty preventing.
However, one of their best arguments is that the shutdown in service is costing Nevada jobs and further economic activity. When it launched in Nevada, 2,000 drivers were approved by Uber and another 15,000 drivers were in the application process. During the month that it was in service, the company generated $500,000 in income from Las Vegas and Reno.
Uber has publicly declared its commitment to ensuring that it will operate in Nevada. Uber opponents in Nevada seem equally motivated to prevent Uber’s services in Nevada. Whatever happens, we are likely in for a long legal battle before anything is permanently resolved.
Matt Pfau is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau. Matt has a background in business consulting, estate planning, business start-ups and bankruptcy and is licensed to practice in both Nevada and California. A partner in the firm Parry & Pfau, he can be reached at 702-912-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.