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A taxi company owner who accuses Little Rock of illegally favoring a larger competitor should not be allowed to sue because he did not apply for new cab permits, city lawyers argue in a Friday court filing.

Ken Leininger of Ken's Cabs LLC sued the city last month, complaining that his three-car operation has been unfairly denied operating permits to work within the city limits. Each cab must have a permit to pick up passengers in the city.

The suit, before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray, claims that Little Rock illegally favors the much larger Greater Little Rock Transportation Service LLC, which operates as Yellow Cab, to the point that Yellow Cab has been granted a monopoly on providing city taxi services.

Leininger's litigation is being backed by a public-interest libertarian law firm, the Institute for Justice of Virginia. No hearings have been scheduled.

In a seven-page response filed Friday, Deputy City Attorney Amy Beckman argues the lawsuit should be dismissed because Leininger did not complete the permit application process this year.

Permits are valid for one calendar year, and Leininger was denied permits to operate in 2015, Beckman acknowledges. But he did not apply for 2016 permits before suing the city, she states.

If he was going to sue, he should have done it to challenge his 2015 denial, Beckman states.

That means Leininger did not do all he could to obtain permits before filing his lawsuit, and the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure require plaintiffs to first exhaust all administrative remedies before suing, she states.

Since he has not done that, the court rules require the lawsuit to be dismissed, Beckman states.

Leininger is also challenging the constitutionality of the city's taxi-licensing procedure, arguing that Little Rock has established a "monopoly rule" on taxi permits that illegally favors Yellow Cab, which bought all of the 120 permits available and has actively lobbied city officials to deny permits to Ken's Cabs.

Metro on 04/02/2016

Print Headline: LR: Cabby didn't file for permits so can't sue

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