A federal judge ruled in favor of the city of Portland on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by a white, American-born taxicab driver who claimed he was a victim of discrimination for being denied one of 43 permits to work as part of the Portland International Jetport’s taxi pool.

The driver, Paul McDonough of South Portland, claimed in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland in 2015 that the city’s current jetport taxicab permit system has created a “racial monopoly” because only Somali or Iranian immigrants have been issued permits.

But Judge Jon D. Levy dismissed the suit, ruling that he agreed with the city that McDonough lacks standing because he admitted under questioning in a court deposition that he probably wouldn’t spend the $800 to apply for a permit even if the city allowed new applicants.

McDonough, 71, tried to amend his original deposition testimony in which he said he wasn’t sure because of his age how much longer he would continue driving cabs. But the city said his attempt to change his testimony by filing a written statement instead was a “sham affidavit” and that he had failed to show he was able and ready to apply for a permit.

“In the corrected answer, McDonough qualifies his willingness to apply for a permit and pay the $800 fee in three respects: He was (1) uncertain as to how much longer he will continue to drive a cab; (2) concerned about whether he is physically able to continue to work over 50 hours a week; and (3) not sure as to whether he is willing to change his work hours to match the hours when planes arrive,” Levy wrote in his 16-page ruling. “While his answers show that it is possible that he would apply for a permit given the opportunity, it does not establish that it is likely that he would apply.”

In an email, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said, “We are pleased that the judge ruled in favor of the city.”

Attorney Heidi Hart, who represented McDonough, could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The city has sought to downsize its airport taxi pool permits in recent years to reduce crowding since establishing the current permit process in 2008. When the city reduced the pool to 45 licenses in July 2013, it grandfathered in the license holders at that time, who were all Somali or Iranian. The license cap was later reduced to 43.

The lawsuit originated from a complaint that McDonough and another white male taxicab driver filed in June 2013 and brought before the Maine Human Rights Commission. State investigators found that the complaint by McDonough and Raymond Chasse of Scarborough has “no reasonable grounds.” Chasse has since died.

McDonough first filed the lawsuit in state court in late 2014, and it was transferred to federal court in 2015.

McDonough is the owner of Timely Taxi and has what is classified by the city as a reserve taxi license, meaning he can serve the general city but cannot idle outside the airport arrivals terminal. He is allowed to take an airport fare only if he is called there by appointment.

The city’s 43 jetport permits are classified as non-reserve, a costlier and more coveted license that allows the licensee to wait at the terminal for air passengers who arrive on a regular timetable.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan