The Ride-Sharing Economy: Keeping Liability in the Rearview

by St Aubin Keith November 27 2014, 09:00
In large cities the world over, passengers have stopped reaching into the air to hail a cab and have begun reaching into their pockets for their smartphones. Companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar represent a cross-section of the transportation sector of a rapidly growing marketplace: the so-called “sharing economy.”[1] The sharing economy delivers products, places, rides and various other perks to consumers through the use of modern technology. Dog owners can turn to DogVacay rather than finding a kennel for Fido.[2] The elderly can now hire someone to clean their gutters using TaskRabbit instead of dealing with the snotty kid next-door.[3] Loan seekers can avoid the bank by booting up their PC and heading over to Lending Club.[4] The sharing economy exploded on the scene across various sectors seemingly overnight. Almost twenty years after Ebay began, the peer-to-peer model has expanded to the exchange of innumerable tangible assets. [5] However, not all people seem happy about the advent of the direct exchanges spurred on by innovative minds equipped with modern technology. Some heavy-hitters of the sharing economy, such as Airbnb, already face uphill battles in cities that seem less than eager to begin sharing the economy with everyday homeowners.[6] [More]

Pirating an Industry: Ridesharing as a Subversion of Livery Regulation

by Holm Matthew November 23 2014, 21:59
“A ride whenever you need one,” boasts the corporate tagline of San Francisco-based company Lyft.[1] Founded in 2012, Lyft is a relatively recent addition to the growing “ridesharing” industry.[2] Its competitors such as UberX, Sidecar, Summon, and Wingz have altered the urban transportation market by allowing smartphone users to summon a car, track the driver’s arrival, and pay for a ride, all at the touch of a virtual button.[3] The concept is genius and has gained widespread popularity in major cities in the United States and around the globe since Uber’s launch in 2009.[4] [More]

Uber Battle: Cabbies vs. Startup

by Matt Diamond November 30 2012, 11:05
Those who have hailed a taxi or used public transportation can attest to the downsides of urban transportation including dirtiness, crowdedness, and unreliability. Since its founding in 2010, San Francisco-based startup Uber has aimed to appease the unsatisfied market of urban dwellers that desire easier, cleaner, and more dependable transportation than has been available. [More]

Honking and Swearing Never Work: An Examination of Urban Traffic Congestion Remedies

by Samuel Rosenberg March 18 2009, 10:27
For any urban dweller street congestion is a constant source of frustration and angst. While this pain has been universally felt amongst metropolitan areas, the handling of this problem has varied. Despite the recognition of the issue, American urban citizens lost 3.7 billion hours of time and wasted 2.3 billion gallons of fuel sitting in congested streets in 2003. [3] The approaches to alleviating congestion can be divided into two main schools of thought: 1) traditional, demand based responses, and 2) creative, alternative means of reducing congestion through innovation. This article will advocate and focus on the later by noting procedures that have been implemented with commercial vehicles, congestion pricing, and by discussing lessons for possible future policy implementation. [More]

Get On The City Bus: The Future of The American Suburb and Her Automobiles

by Samuel Rosenberg November 11 2008, 12:15
Despite Americans’ preference towards the suburb in the later half of the twentieth century, our nation is currently poised to regret the very expansionist zest that drew it away from the urban core. With the fluctuating price of gas and the limited public transportation alternatives, suburban Americans are forced to devote an ever-growing portion of their income and time to surviving their daily commutes. [2] The issue confronting policymakers today is whether to realign current residential settlement patterns or to vastly improve public transportation within suburbs. This article discusses some of the possible means available for accomplishing the latter. [More]

Preventing Price-Gouging of Gasoline after Natural Disasters

by rmalhotra November 10 2008, 15:59

In 2007, in response to the public’s anger about the high cost of gasoline after the hurricane disasters, the House of Representatives drafted and passed the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act (“FPGPA”), which reads in part:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell…during a period of an energy emergency, gasoline…at a price that

(A) is unconscionably excessive; and

(B) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage of the circumstances related to an energy emergency to increase prices unreasonably.” [1]

To date, the Senate has not voted on the bill. While the victims of recent hurricanes were understandably angered with rising gasoline prices in the days following the disasters, the FPGPA would ultimately do these consumers more harm than good in terms of economic recovery because the language of the bill sets an unclear standard for law enforcement, merchants and consumers, and anti price-gouging legislation has been shown to cost consumers more money long-term. Rather, modification of federal and state legislation already in place would most effectively prevent the unfair manipulation of gasoline prices. [More]

Anchors Aweigh! The U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Regulating International Shipping on the High Seas

by Christopher Minelli April 19 2007, 16:17
Law students enrolled in a “substantive” criminal procedure course frequently sweat over the intricacies of search and seizure law within contexts familiar to the average land-lubber attorney – the home, the automobile, and the person strolling down the street. Perhaps some die-hard students will take the time to learn more obscure aspects of the Fourth Amendment such as administrative searches and the law of satellite reconnaissance. But who really bothers to learn anything about maritime search and seizure law? The idea of pirates, smugglers, and privateers in the twenty-first century is absurd to most people, including many attorneys. But, be forewarned! In the post 9/11 world the men and women in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard are on call twenty-four hours a day monitoring commercial and private vessels on the high seas. [1] They are enforcing regulatory legislation developed by Congress and applicable to all tankers, container ships, and other vessels that are vital links between the United States and other markets around the world. [2] [More]

The Classical Legacy of Admiralty: The Roman Experience (Part Two of a Two-Part Series)

by Christopher Minelli March 15 2007, 16:18
Last month we examined some pre-Roman beginnings of modern admiralty doctrine, starting from pre-history through the Greek city states. [1] This month we will continue our study of the classical beginnings of admiralty and maritime law by examining mighty Rome – what its legal system was like, how Rome’s laws evolved and amplified the admiralty that came before them, and most importantly how Rome’s influence on maritime legal matters influenced a wide array of modern doctrines from maritime tort and contract liability to general average. I highly recommend reviewing my last article, published on February 15, before continuing on. [2] This will set the stage for understanding what Rome inherited and what she gave back to the western legal tradition after her downfall. [More]

The Classical Legacy of Admiralty: The Pre-Roman World (Part One of a Two-Part Series)

by Christopher Minelli February 15 2007, 16:19
The classical world, western civilization from the dawn of written history to the fall of the Roman Empire [1] in 476 A.D., [2] was dependant on the arteries of transportation that crisscrossed Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Like the modern world, no state existed entirely in a vacuum. Whether an empire or a city-state lived or died depended largely on its ability to move people and materials efficiently. What we know today as admiralty and maritime law has its earliest roots in the classical period. [3] This body of law was highly developed in antiquity when compared with other legal subjects, especially considering that many admiralty law doctrines are unchanged from their ancient states. Studying the state of admiralty in ancient history sheds much light on the reasons why admiralty is the way it is today, and why it differs from other doctrinal areas of law. [More]

The Future of U.S.-Cuban Transportation Law

by Christopher Minelli November 7 2006, 16:19
The story has been told in many different ways, but for the most part it goes something like this: during the height of the Cold War, a newspaper reporter is flying on an Air Force jet interviewing a major general about a new missile designed to keep the Soviets on their side of the Iron Curtain. During the conversation, the general opens a cigar box full of Cubans, takes one out, and lights it up. “General,” the newspaper reporter asks, taken aback, “what are you doing? Isn’t that behavior supporting the illegitimate regime of Cuba?” The general taps his cigar, gives the newspaper man a wink, and replies, “No son, I consider it to be burning the communist’s crops.” [1]

For half of the twentieth century and the entirety of the twenty-first, Cuba has been ruled by a communist government under the direction of Fidel Castro. Castro took power during a communist revolution in 1959 and has led the country under tight communist control. [2] United States foreign policy since the end of World War II has been tailored to deny benefit to the nation’s direct enemies and enemies of her allies. One of these policy decisions has been a complete embargo on trade with Cuba since January of 1959, designed to starve the Cuban economy of American currency. [3] The big questions are whether or not the embargo is still warranted in the post-Cold War world where there are no ties between Cuba and terrorism and what will happen in U.S.-Cuban relations once Castro is no longer in power due to incapacity or death. [More]

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