Will McGinnis, the operator of a one-cab taxi business in Lexington who wants to grow his company, is calling an order issued by Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell a "huge victory."
Bunnell recently ruled that if the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council passes an ordinance allowing "grandfathered" cab companies to increase their fleets by one cab at a time, such an ordinance would not constitute special legislation. Bunnell's order was entered into the court record this week.
McGinnis, who runs LexTaxi, tried to get the council to pass such an ordinance in the past, but the local government's law department maintained that it couldn't be done because it would constitute special legislation, he said.
Now McGinnis plans to ask the council to consider such an ordinance again. However, Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, said the city will appeal the decision.
McGinnis' cab business was exempted from a general 25-vehicle minimum requirement for applying for or renewing taxi permits through a grandfather clause in state legislation, which he helped get passed. The legislation opened the door for cab company competition in Lexington.
McGinnis said a local ordinance pertaining to cab companies is not clear about growth, especially the growth of a grandfathered-in cab company like his. LexTaxi apparently is the only cab company in Lexington with fewer than 25 cabs in its fleet. McGinnis has said he wants to have as many as five more cabs in his fleet. He has said it's been the local government law department's opinion that he may have either one taxi or 25 or more.
"I was very appreciative of the judge," he said. "She really knew that this just didn't make any sense, basically."
While Bunnell agreed that a new ordinance allowing taxi companies to grow by one cab at a time would not constitute special legislation, she also said that the chapter of the local government's Code of Ordinances dealing with taxi companies is constitutional.
McGinnis, who asked the court for a declaratory judgment on the 25-cab minimum requirement on his own and not through an attorney, also is the plaintiff in a $6.5 million lawsuit against the city and two Lexington police officers.
McGinnis says he was arrested falsely at his Winchester Road nightclub and charged with violating several laws in 2009. He said the charges were dismissed, and he asked that they be expunged from his record. There is no record of the criminal case in electronic court files. The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in September.