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Appeals court keeps damages award for cab that never arrived

By: Eric Heisig//November 6, 2014//

Appeals court keeps damages award for cab that never arrived

By: Eric Heisig//November 6, 2014//

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A Dane County couple whose trip to Mexico was delayed because a cab driver didn’t show up is entitled to thousands in damages, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Donna and Larry Peters called Union Cab of Madison in June 2011, requesting a vehicle to drive them to the Dane County Regional Airport for a flight to vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The couple requested that a cab pick them up on June 11, and Donna Peters called and confirmed the reservation the day before.

However, June 11 came and no cab showed. The Peters’ missed their fight and they had to buy new tickets.

The couple sued the cab company in small claims court in 2012, asking for reimbursement for their missed flight and hotel fees. Earlier this year, former Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi awarded the Peters’ $5,933.02 in damages.

Union Cab appealed, but on Thursday, an unpublished decision by Court of Appeals Judge Gary Sherman upheld Sumi’s decision.

The cab company argued that the amount in damages was “‘remote, unforeseeable’ and disproportionate to the cost of the cab ride to be sustainable.” This was, at least in part, because the cost of the cab fare itself was disproportionately low compared to the awarded damages.

Sherman disagreed, though, writing that “the damages sustained in the present case were a natural and direct consequence of Union Cab’s breach.”

Union Cab had also argued the Peters’ had made a mistake as to the pickup date, though the decision points out that Donna Peters confirmed the date the previous day.

Union Cab’s attorney, Scott Herrick of Herrick & Kasdorf LLP, Madison, said Thursday that he did not know the opinion was released. However, he said that even if it was unpublished, it presents a problem for companies that provide driving services.

“The principle here is that if a cab company, every time there is a $25 cab fare, there is an unlimited amount of damages ,” Herrick said.

The Peters’ attorney, Lauri Morris, was out of town Thursday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

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