Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
Sept. 1 — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Sept. 1 upheld a record-breaking $11.4 million civil penalty against Uber Technologies Inc. for operating in the state without permission, going against pleas from business leaders, lawmakers and the state's governor to reduce the fine ( Pa. Pub. Util. Comm'n v. Uber Technologies Inc., Pa. Pub. Util. Comm'n, No. C-2014-2422723, 9/1/16 ).
The commission said Uber made an “intentional business decision” to begin operations prematurely and that 122,998 trips were taken before the company received proper authority. The Commission ordered Uber to pay the penalty within 30 days and denied the ride-sharing service a request for reconsideration and rehearing.
“We do not take lightly the fact that the civil penalty in this case is the largest in this Commission's history,” Chairman Gladys M. Brown and Vice Chairman Andrew G. Place said in a joint statement. “However, the reason the penalty is so large is because we were faced with an unprecedented number of violations.”
The penalty is the highest ever imposed by the commission and is almost six times the previous record-breaker, a $1.8 million fine against Hiko Energy for deceptive marketing practices, according to Uber.
Uber said in a statement it was “shocked that the PUC would compound its past mistakes and send the troubling message that Pennsylvania is unwelcoming to technology and innovation.”
The company called the fine “absurd” and said it would appeal the opinion.
In a dissenting statement, Commissioner Robert F. Powelson said the penalty was “inappropriate and inconsistent with Commission precedent” and is “an abuse of Commission discretion.” He argued that the fine should be reduced.
The Commission fined Uber's competitor Lyft about $1,000 per day for the same behavior during the same period, compared to almost $60,000 per day for Uber, Powelson wrote.
The commission voted 4-1 to uphold the penalty, which was originally imposed in April (21 ECLR 622, 4/27/16).
To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full text of the order at http://src.bna.com/iej.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)