Court Strikes Down Milwaukee County Ordinance

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLC (“SFMS”) is pleased to announce that in a 5-2 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down a Milwaukee County Ordinance (“Ordinance”), which prohibited taxis without airport permits from making prearranged pickups at the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Douglas P. Dehler, a Partner in the Firm’s Wisconsin office and Professor Peter C. Carstensen of the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, Wisconsin achieved this verdict.

The case involved two taxi cab drivers who were fined under the Ordinance for providing services to and from the Airport without having the permits required under the Ordinance. The Court addressed Milwaukee County’s ability to enact the Ordinance when the same regulation allowed limousines without permits to make pickups. The Court determined that “the Milwaukee County Ordinance 4.05 conflicts with the requirement under Section 114.14 that the public have equal access to airport services, and to that extent is invalid and unenforceable.” Writing for the majority, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley commented, “[t]he Ordinance arbitrarily limits the options of the general public–the people who need to make the transportation arrangements. They do not have the option of choosing a taxi without a permit for prearranged pick-ups from the airport.”

SFMS congratulates Douglas P. Dehler for his pro bono work on this case.