More than 20 additional women sue Lyft alleging rape, sexual assault

The Boston Globe Finance 6 days ago

SAN FRANCISCO — Twenty-one more women have come forward alleging they were raped or sexually assaulted while using Lyft, adding to a growing list of legal complaints against the ride-hailing company from passengers who say they were targeted by drivers on the app.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, follows a September complaint they filed on behalf of 14 women who alleged they were sexually assaulted or raped after Lyft let ‘‘known sexual predators’’ transport passengers in locations around the country, and the company’s safety oversights led to reports of sexual assault.

‘‘Lyft’s response to this sexual predator crisis among Lyft drivers has been appallingly inadequate,’’ according to the suit, which alleges that Lyft has been aware of the issues for four years and has failed to take action.

Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has said in the past that safety is its top priority and it doesn’t tolerate the type of behavior described in victims’ complaints.

‘‘What the victims describe is terrifying and has no place in the Lyft community,’’ said Lyft’s Trust and Safety head Mary Winfield, who has since departed the company, in a statement responding to the September lawsuit.

Lyft has announced a number of safety changes amid the scrutiny as passengers came forward with their allegations. They included in-app 911 integration, or a ‘‘panic button’’ that essentially allows passengers to report an incident directly to authorities. Lyft has also instituted driver sexual harassment prevention courses, in addition to prominently displaying the license plate numbers of drivers, along with users’ location and vehicle information to make that information easy to give to authorities.

The Washington Post previously reported that nearly a dozen women felt Lyft’s responses to sexual harassment and misconduct on the platform fell short and failed to address the problem in the eyes of the victims. The Post later reported on a new standardized decision-making structure Lyft was instituting to determine how to respond to allegations of serious misconduct on the platform, lessening the reliance on the human judgment of hired Trust & Safety specialists. As part of the changes, Lyft would review some previous driver deactivations to determine whether to bring previously booted drivers back on board, The Post reported.

The complaint in San Francisco Superior Court took aim at that new system.

‘‘Lyft’s newly announced standardized protocol for determining whether to ban drivers from the platform may pose a continued threat to passengers. The standardized protocol will introduce a black and white decision structure reducing the ability to implement a human judgment call based on a pattern of similar complaints of the same driver,’’ the complaint says. ‘‘This new standardized protocol for dealing with complaints of sexual assault could, and likely will result in dangerous sexual predators remaining on Lyft’s platform until a more serious incident, like a rape occurs.’’

In the latest suit, filed by attorneys from the same San Diego-based firm, Estey & Bomberger, 21 women including six named plaintiffs say they were raped or sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers. The passengers included a woman who alleged she fell asleep in the back seat of a car only to wake up with her Lyft driver on top of her ‘‘with his tongue in her mouth.’’ Another woman alleges she was pressured to drink tequila provided by the driver, who then sexually assaulted her.

The women alleged in the suit they turned to increasingly frantic measures to buy time or make their harassers stop. One alleges she said she had HIV to scare the driver, another alleges she had to stop to retrieve asthma medication to make time for police to show up. A third urinated in the back seat to make the driver stop sexually assaulting her, the suit alleges.

Further, the suit alleges, Lyft has stonewalled law enforcement in efforts to investigate the incidents, concealed from the public the nature and full extent of the problem, and fostered a culture that has silenced victims of rape and sexual assault on the platform.

‘‘Lyft riders who report sexual harassment or sexual assault to Lyft’s Trust & Safety Team are often left feeling no better off than had they not reported at all,’’ the lawsuit says. The company ‘‘more often than not, does not tell the victim what steps Lyft conducts in an investigation, does not tell the victim if there have been other allegations against the same driver, and does not tell the victim whether the driver has been removed from the platform. ‘‘

Attorneys argue that Lyft, not the victims, should be responsible for the medical costs and the toll the incidents have taken on them. They said Lyft doesn’t give passengers adequate warning about the risks of using the app, or subject drivers to any ‘‘real screening,’’ and it has prioritized profits over the safety of the platform.

Source link
Read also:
Business Insider › Automobile › 1 month ago
Lyft is facing lawsuits from at least 34 women who accuse the ride-hailing company of enabling a sexual assault "epidemic." The women say they are victims of sexual assault, rape, or kidnapping by Lyft drivers. The majority of the alleged assaults took...
Business Insider › Automobile › 6 days ago
20 women filed a lawsuit against Lyft on Wednesday, accusing the company of not doing more to prevent attacks by drivers. The plaintiffs say they were attacked during Lyft rides in the time since a similar group filed a lawsuit in September. A Lyft...
Washington Post › Technology › 6 days ago
The lawsuit filed in California says Lyft failed to protect passengers and didn’t take its duty to screen drivers seriously enough.
CNN › Technology › 6 days ago
Twenty more people are suing Lyft over alleged sexual assault, sexual misconduct or rape by drivers while using its service.
UPI › 6 days ago
Twenty women who say they were sexually assaulted or raped by Lyft drivers have filed a lawsuit against the rideshare company, their attorney said.
CBS News › 6 days ago
Ride-share giant Lyft is defending its commitment to safety after 19 women allege they were sexually harassed, abused or raped by Lyft drivers. A lawsuit filed Wednesday says the company’s “response to this sexual predator crisis amongst Lyft...
Business Insider › Automobile › 2 months ago
Uber and Lyft's recent product updates have all been eerily similar. On Thursday, Lyft announced a driver rewards program not unlike the one Uber launched last year. Last month, Lyft redesigned its app to include public transit and bike rentals, only...
Business Insider › Automobile › 1 month ago
Lyft and Uber are both scheduled to report earnings over the next week, with Lyft kicking off the show on Wednesday. Going into the report, new data shows Lyft continuing to gain market share in its fight against its larger rival. Executives also said...
Business Insider › Automobile › 2 weeks ago
Lyft has received enthusiastic feedback from the 75,000 rides it has given in Las Vegas using self-driving cars run by Aptiv's technology. Those passengers have given their rides an average rating of 4.97 points out of five, Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft's...
Washington Examiner › 6 days ago
The ride-sharing company and app Lyft is being sued by 19 more women over accusations that drivers sexual assaulted and harassed women as they rode in the vehicles.
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google