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Lyft faces lawsuits from customers who say they skilled bodily, sexual assault : NPR

Lyft sign
Lyft sign

The San Francisco-based ridesharing firm Lyft is dealing with 17 new lawsuits introduced by customers of its service from across the nation, who declare the corporate failed to guard passengers and drivers from bodily and sexual assault.

Of the lawsuits, 14 have been from individuals who mentioned they have been sexually assaulted whereas utilizing Lyft, and three mentioned they have been bodily assaulted. At a information convention to announce the lawsuits, 5 of the plaintiffs shared their tales.

Stella Grant, a former Lyft driver from Chicago, described how an intoxicated passenger attacked her after Grant tried to substantiate the rider’s id in August of 2020.

“She rapidly started abusing me verbally and bodily,” Grant mentioned. “She was actually violent with me whereas I used to be driving. She cursed at me and punched at my head and my face and again.”

Grant mentioned that, after the assault, she was left bleeding and needed to go to the emergency room. Docs advisable she obtain bodily remedy, however she mentioned that she could not afford it; after shedding her job initially of the pandemic, she had been counting on Lyft to assist her household.

Responding to the allegations introduced within the lawsuits, a spokesperson for Lyft mentioned the corporate is “dedicated to serving to hold drivers and riders secure.”

“Whereas security incidents on our platform are extremely uncommon, we notice that even one is just too many. Our purpose is to make each Lyft trip as secure as potential, and we’ll proceed to take motion and put money into know-how, insurance policies and partnerships to take action,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Katherine Rasta, a passenger from Phoenix, mentioned she was sexually assaulted in June of 2021. Her driver made undesirable sexual advances all through the drive, she mentioned, and as soon as they arrived at her vacation spot, he locked the automotive doorways and sexually assaulted her.

“Then he instructed me, ‘That is our little secret. Do not inform anybody. Keep in mind, I do know the place you reside, and I do know the place your pals reside now. I doubt you may need any bother, proper?'” Rasta mentioned.

The entire drivers and passengers mentioned Lyft did virtually nothing to assist them after they reported their assaults, aside from telling them they have been sorry for his or her expertise and that they’d droop the account of the motive force or passenger who assaulted them. Two drivers mentioned Lyft supplied them a number of hundred {dollars} after they reported their assaults, however didn’t observe up with them afterward.

Attorneys and victims referred to as on Lyft to make its service safer by putting in cameras inside all Lyft autos, conducting biometric fingerprint scans and background checks for drivers, and eliminating a coverage that enables customers to order a Lyft trip for another person.

Adam Wolf, one of many attorneys representing the Lyft customers, mentioned it was clear that the corporate didn’t care about its passengers or drivers.

“The factor Lyft is most involved about defending is its personal revenue margins,” Wolf mentioned.

Attorneys additionally claimed that Lyft’s coverage on not sharing person info after an assault with out a court docket order creates a significant impediment to even essentially the most fundamental felony investigations or civil protecting orders.

“Lyft is on the aspect of the perpetrators, not the victims,” Wolf mentioned.

A Lyft spokesperson accused attorneys on the convention of constructing false and deceptive claims concerning the firm’s security insurance policies. The consultant famous that over 99% of rides happen with out a security report, that the corporate requires yearly background checks for drivers, and that it cooperates with all legislation enforcement investigations when introduced with a legitimate request. The spokesperson additionally mentioned all drivers are required to take a group security schooling course earlier than driving.

The brand new lawsuits come three years after 14 ladies filed a lawsuit towards Lyft claiming that, after being sexually assaulted or raped by drivers, Lyft did not take motion even when it was conscious of drivers who have been accused of assault and purposefully ignored victims’ reviews.

In 2021, Lyft revealed it had acquired over 4,000 reviews of sexual assault from its customers between 2017 and 2019. That report additionally confirmed that cases of sexual assault elevated yr after yr, and included 360 whole reviews of non-consensual sexual penetration and a couple of,300 reviews of “non-consensual touching of a sexual physique half.”

The plaintiffs in these most up-to-date lawsuits mentioned that the bodily and psychological toll of their assaults continues to be recent. Some mentioned they pulled away from family members, and several other reported having PTSD.

Amy Collins, a Lyft driver from Napa, Calif., mentioned she was sexually assaulted in March of 2020 and described the result she needed from the lawsuit.

“I hope that sharing my story, and my trauma, will get Lyft to care concerning the individuals who use its platform,” Collins mentioned.



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