As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to face tough questions over his handling of “Bridgegate” – the scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge – a lawsuit has already been filed by commuters who were late to work because of the unannounced roadblocks. Now, a new lawsuit is seeking compensation on behalf of six car companies affected by the bridge closures.
It was impossible to get customers where they were going.
While official investigations are still ongoing, it’s looking more and more likely that the lane closures were a response to Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich’s refusal to endorse Christie for reelection. While Gov. Christie has denied all knowledge of the affair, key members of his staff have already been let go.
According to the complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, the six taxi companies incurred financial losses as a result of the lane closures and resulting traffic jams, some of which lasted up to four hours. Nine plaintiffs are named in the suit and the proposed class covers all those livery companies that wasted gas and lost business between September 9 and September 13, 2013 in and around Fort Lee and while crossing the George Washington bridge.
New Jersey News 12 reports that Justin Sasso of Lime Taxi and Peter Deshepelo of GW Taxi, among others, “took a really big hit” during the closures, with Deshepelo adding that “it was impossible to get [customers] where they were going.”
Christie has not been named as a defendant in this lawsuit, although the earlier lawsuit filed by commuters lists both the governor and the State of New Jersey as defendants. In that case, the roadblocks are described as “willful, wanton, arbitrary and egregious official misconduct” that left residents trapped in their cars for several hours.
The six cab companies operate around thirty cars each and allege they lost time and money, while drivers and passengers suffered emotional distress from false imprisonment, North Jersey reports. The plaintiffs in the case are as follows: GW Car Service LLC, Lime Taxi LLC, Fort Lee Car Service, Vans R Us, Palisades Enterprises LLC, and Vans R Us.
Did you experience delays caused by the bridge closure in September 2013? Do you think Christie knew about it? Share your story in the comments below.