Houston City Attorney Issues Cease and Desist To Uber For Contact City Officials

March 2nd, 2014

Recently, Uber has been making an entree into Houston. As is always the case, the entrenched interests oppose Uber, because it would not fall within the regulatory gears of the government. In response, Uber asked Houstonians to sign a petition, which they sent to City Officials. What happened in response? Of course the Houston City Attorney sent Uber a Cease and Desist email.

From: Feldman, David M. – LGL
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:46 AM
To: Miller, Robert
Subject: Uber Cease and Desist

Robert – Please consider this as a formal demand that your client, Uber, cease and desist from transmitting or aiding in the transmission of form e-mails to City officials regarding the adoption of an ordinance to accommodate their enterprise. Despite my informal request to you by telephone on Monday, the excessive number of e-mails has gone unabated, to the point that it has become harassing in nature and arguably unlawful. Failure to cease and desist will be met with appropriate action by the City.

David M. Feldman
City Attorney
City of Houston

It isn’t clear how may emails were sent, or what it is “excessive.” It also isn’t clear how they are “harassing in nature and arguably unlawful.” If these allegations were accurate, I would imagine the City Attorney could do better than a bare-bones threatening email without any particulars. Without these details, this seems to be at best, empty threats, and at worst, unconstitutional bullying.

Everyone always forgets the part of the First Amendment that guarantees us the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Mr. Feldman should reacquaint himself with this provision. I think libertarians and ubtertarians would agree.