LAWRENCE — City officials insist a federal court order handed down this week won’t change the way they have been dealing with out-of-town cab drivers.
“It appears the judge is saying the ordinance needs to be followed, which is exactly what we’re doing and have done all along,” Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said yesterday.
U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton issued a two-page ruling on Monday which orders the police to cease stopping out-of-town cab drivers from dropping off or picking up passengers in the city, as long as the drivers are following the city’s taxi cab ordinance. As part of a preliminary injunction granted to Andover Central Transportation Corp., the judge also ordered police not to keep out-of-town cabbies from passing through the city.
The judge noted “evidence” that police “are not acting in compliance with the City’s taxi cab ordinances.” He was referring to allegations that police have ticketed and towed cabs that made legitimate passenger pickups and drop-offs in the city. Andover attorney Peter J. Caruso, who represents the cab company and its five drivers, hailed the judge’s ruling as “a win for the out-of-town taxicabs” in their ongoing federal court lawsuit against the city. Caruso also represents The Eagle-Tribune.
But attorney William DiAdamo, who represents the city in the case, yesterday said he disagreed with Caruso that the judge’s order was a victory for anyone involved in the case.
“We believe everything the Police Department has done to date conforms completely with the judge’s order,” DiAdamo said in an interview last night.
“We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. If cabs from Andover comply with the order, everything is great. If an out-of-town cab company drives around Lawrence, picking people up on the street without following the regulations, then I expect there will be penalties. and I expect the police will be diligent in making sure that they follow the letter of the law,” he said.