Taxi Preferences at DFW Airport and Collateral Estoppel

The DFW Airport Board sought to incentivize taxicabs powered by natural gas by giving them “head of the line” privileges at DFW.  In 2009, the Airport Board passed a resolution to that effect, and the Association of Taxicab Operators (the “Association”) brought suit, seeking a declaration that the resolution was void.  The trial court ultimately sided with the Association and declared the resolution as passed void.  The Airport Board did not appeal that ruling.

Instead, in 2012, the Airport Board passed a second, similar resolution, which gave “head of the line” privileges to “taxicab operators who invest in a CNG operated taxicab.”   Once again, the Association challenged the resolution, and again the trial court declared the resolution void.  This time, the Airport Board appealed.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling, holding that the Airport Board has the exclusive power to operate DFW Airport, which includes the power to manage the flow of ground transportation.  The Court also rejected the Association’s argument that the trial court’s ruling on the first resolution was binding in this case under the doctrine of collateral estoppel.  Because the court’s ruling on the first resolution only applied to that resolution as passed, it did not determine whether the second resolution was valid.

DFW Airport Bd. v. Ass’n of Taxicap Ops., No. 05-12-00777-CV