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The Next Economy
Is Lyft Facing a Restraining Order Ahead of Its NYC Launch?

The New York attorney general reports the State Supreme Court has granted an injunction that kept Lyft from launching as planned on Friday. However, Lyft claims this a "deliberate misstatement," and it put the launch on hold to make changes to its service that will comply with local regulations, The Verge reports.

"There was no [temporary restraining order] or injunction granted today. Instead, the judge adjourned to Monday and we agreed to hold our launch and maintain status quo," Lyft spokesperson Erin Simpson said in a statement to The Verge. "There would be no need for a hearing on Monday if a TRO or injunction was granted. As further proof that court was adjourned, the AG's insurance claims were never presented and Lyft had no opportunity to respond."

Simpson also said the company was obtaining a copy of the court transcript, as well as witness accounts of those in court in order "to show this is a deliberate misstatement by the AG and DFS."

This is not the case, according to New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and New York State Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky, who say that the court's already agreed with its injunction effort, and that the two sides are returning to court next week to discuss Lyft's presence in other parts of the state such as Buffalo and Rochester, where the company already operates.

Regardless of the delay, Lyft went through with its launch party in New York City on Friday, though the company says the launch itself will happen as soon as it gets approval from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which regulates car services, even if that means changes to its current model.

Lyft isn't the first sharing-economy startup to face resistance when trying to expand to NYC — Schneiderman has put Airbnb through the ringer over its violation of several laws, among them a 2010 state law that prohibits New York City residents from renting out their entire apartments for less than 29 days. The attorney general and Airbnb reached a deal in May over the disclosure of host data, but the fight still rages — and the company is still campaigning — for Airbnb to operate freely in NYC.

Last summer, Lyft along with Airbnb and TaskRabbit, were among the sharing-economy companies to partner with Peers, a nonprofit that plans to organize sharing-economy users. The organization’s goal is to promote and protect the businesses and groups that allow people to share goods and services. This means holding events to bring together advocates and users for "community-building" and providing a place for them to share stories and talk about related topics, which includes legislation or local regulations.


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