A judge ruled Tuesday against a group of taxi drivers in Kenner seeking to force drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to buy occupational licenses to operate in the city.

The drivers filed a suit this month hoping that the courts would do what the Kenner City Council did not: require each individual driver for ride-hailing companies to purchase a license at a cost of about $50.

The cab drivers argued that Uber and Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors, not company employees, and therefore the law demands that each one get an occupational license. 

However, Judge Cornelius "Conn" Regan of 24th Judicial District Court agreed with the city, which said that local officials have the discretion to require licenses or not. 

Madro Bandaries, who represents the taxi drivers, said they intend to appeal the decision to the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

"We think we made our case," he said. "We want the appeal court to have a look at it."

This may not be the last legal battle waged over the ride-hailing services, Bandaries said.

"We are looking at other causes of action against the municipalities and their failure to enforce what we believe is required," he said.

Uber and Lyft, the two largest ride-hailing companies, are being given preferential treatment, he said.

Kenner's ordinance was passed after several months of debate over what fees and taxes should be charged to Uber, Lyft and similar companies.

The first ordinance passed by the city would have required that their drivers, like other independent contractors, purchase individual occupational licenses from the city.

That drew the ire of both companies, which said they might no longer be able to operate in the city. That possibility, in turn, worried Louis Armstrong International Airport officials, who said ride-hailing drivers already pick up about 1,000 airline passengers a day.

Just days after passing that ordinance, the City Council voted to reconsider it, undoing their previous move. Then, a month later, the council passed another ordinance removing the occupational license requirement. 

The second ordinance was passed over the strenuous objections of the taxi drivers, who filed their suit a month later.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.