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State senator thwarted in Uber records request

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  • | 2:50 p.m. October 19, 2016
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Rideshare giant Uber has temporarily blocked a public records request from Bradenton attorney Bill Galvano regarding pick-up-and-drop-off numbers from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

Galvano is also a state senator, from Bradenton, but in an interview with the Sarasota Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer, he says this request isn't related to his official position nor recent newspaper columns he has written about trying to enact a uniform set of ridesharing rules for the entire state.

“I asked my legal assistant to request those records on behalf of a client,” Galvano says. “It has nothing to do with any of my realm of being a senator.”

Lyft, a competing rideshare company with Uber, also hopes to block the public records request.

The two firms, which have contracts with SRQ Airport, have cited trade secret information in the requested data as a reason the numbers should be exempt from Florida's Sunshine Law. On Oct. 14, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Brian Iten granted a temporary injunction against releasing Uber's records.

“Raiser (a subsidiary of Uber) has demonstrated that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the precise amount of legal damages that would result from the distribution of its trade secret information to competitors in the market,” Iten wrote in the order.

Lyft filed a motion for a temporary injunction three days later.

“The injunctive relief sought will not negatively impact public interest,” according to the motion filed by Lyft attorney Andrew Kemp-Gerstel. “Disclosure of trip information is not in the public interest as noted by the Florida Legislature, which explained that protecting of trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information is of paramount importance.”

(This story was updated to reflect that Galvano requested the records as an attorney for a client, not in his official capacity.)


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