Lyft taken legal action against by 20 more ladies who declare sexual attack by its chauffeurs


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Dozens of claims have actually been submitted versus Lyft over sexual attack claims.

Angela Lang/CNET

The variety of ladies declaring Lyft hasn’t done enough to stop sexual attacks by its chauffeurs is growing. Twenty more ladies collaborated in a claim Wednesday, declaring they were attacked, abducted and raped while utilizing the business’s ride-hailing service. That indicates a minimum of 55 ladies have actually either submitted or signed up with claims versus Lyft considering that August. 

“There is a corporate culture at Lyft that refuses to fix a known sexual assault problem,” stated lawyer Mike Bomberger, who submitted the claim on behalf of the 20 ladies. “This sends a message to drivers that there is no accountability for sexual assaults.”

The fit was submitted Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court. Bomberger, who’s with the company Estey and Bomberger, is likewise representing 14 other ladies in a different fit versus Lyft. Another legal representative, Rachel Abrams of Levin Simes Abrams, has actually in addition submitted 19 fits versus Lyft over comparable claims. And a minimum of 2 other specific claims have actually been submitted in New York and California. 

Bomberger stated he’s submitting an extra fit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday on behalf of Cheyenne Gutierrez, a handicapped 23-year-old who declares she was sexually attacked by her Lyft motorist in May.

The victims’ legal representatives state Lyft hasn’t done enough to safeguard riders from sexual attack which wrongdoers are drawn to Lyft to victimize susceptible ladies. The claims assert that Lyft does low quality background look at chauffeurs and frequently does not deactivate them from the platform after sexual attack claims. The claims likewise declare that Lyft tends to stonewall victims, overlooking, dismissing or minimizing their assertions.

For its part, Lyft states it’s concentrating on security. John Zimmer, the ride-hailing business’s president, released an article in September entitled “Reinforcing our commitment to safety.” He stated Lyft presented a number of brand-new security functions over the in 2015, consisting of constant background checks and an emergency situation 911 button in the app. Lyft has actually likewise simply started a necessary “community safety education” course for all chauffeurs. 

“What these women describe is something no one should ever have to endure,” a Lyft spokesperson stated in an e-mail. “Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks. We recognize these risks, which is why we are relentless in our work to build safety into every aspect of our work.”

She stated almost one in 5 Lyft staff members “have been dedicated to initiatives that strengthen the platform’s safety.” She included that “our work on safety is never done, and we will continue to invest in new features, protocols, and policies to ensure Lyft is the safest form of transportation for our riders and drivers.”

After Uber, Lyft is the second-largest ride-hailing service in the nation. The 7-year-old business states it has more than 2 million chauffeurs and 30 million riders throughout the United States and Canada. With operations in all 50 states, it collaborates countless trips every day. 

Lyft and Uber have not launched information on the number of attacks are connected to their chauffeurs, and they have actually decreased to state the number of sexual attack claims have actually been submitted versus them. But according to legal representatives representing victims, the numbers are high. 

Bomberger stated he’s representing more than 100 ladies and gets at least 3 calls a day from individuals who state they were attacked by ride-hail chauffeurs. And Abrams stated her company is now representing more than 70 ladies who state they have actually been sexually attacked by Lyft chauffeurs. 

“We know, based on the calls we get, the numbers are in the thousands,” Bomberger stated at an interview in San Francisco on Wednesday. “This isn’t in the hundreds, this is in the several thousands.”

Both Abrams and Bomberger stated they get as lots of, if not more, calls about ladies apparently assaulted by Uber chauffeurs. But, they stated, Uber has a much better record of dealing with the victims and for that reason deals with less claims.

Uber has likewise included a number of security functions to its app over the previous number of years. Earlier this month, the business revealed it will quickly let United States riders and chauffeurs opt-in to audio record their trips — something it’s currently piloted in Brazil and Mexico. This is a function sexual attack victims and their supporters have actually long requested for.

Uber didn’t return ask for remark.

New claims

The ladies in the brand-new claim information occurrences that frequently happened late in the evening and in which drinking was included. Oftentimes they stated they went to sleep in the rear seats of the automobile just to discover their Lyft motorist on top of them. The reported occurrences happened in 13 states, consisting of California, Georgia, Utah and Tennessee. Eight of the supposed attacks happened after Bomberger’s last fit versus Lyft in September. 

One female, called Jane Roe 2 in the claim, was at journalism conference. She silently explained what occurred to her late one night in February. She resides in Massachusetts and had actually purchased a Lyft house after getting beverages with a pal. She stated she dozed off in the rear seats and woke up to the motorist raping her.

“During the rape, I immediately froze,” Jane Roe 2 stated. But then, “I decided that I had to fight for my life.”

She stated she struck and kicked the motorist and attempted to leave the car. The 2 toppled out of the automobile and the motorist delved into the front seat knocking the door behind him. But Jane Roe 2’s arm was captured in the door and he repelled dragging her along the ground. Finally, she escaped.

Jane Roe 2 crawled to a close-by home to request for assistance, according to court files. The local called the cops as Jane Roe 2 sobbed on the front deck. The cops showed up and took Jane Roe 2 to do a rape package. According to the court files, the motorist lay, charged with the rape — to which he pled guilty — and was sentenced to jail.

“I was left bruised, beaten and emotionally scarred,” Jane Roe 2 stated. “Lyft gave him the opportunity to do this to me.”

Many of the ladies in the claim state they went to extreme procedures to stop the chauffeurs from the supposed attacks. One ladies stated she informed the motorist she had HIV, another stated she urinated in the rear seats to get the motorist to stop. Another female, who likewise spoke at journalism conference, stated she asked the motorist to let her obtain her asthma inhaler to purchase time till the cops appeared.

In much of these occurrences, the ladies stated Lyft never ever notified them whether it had actually gotten rid of the chauffeurs from the platform. Because of that, they stated they still reside in worry. At journalism conference, the ladies stated they no longer utilize Lyft and dissuade others from utilizing the service, especially if they’re alone and it’s late in the evening.

Originally released Dec. 4, 10: 40 a.m. PT.
Correction, 11: 23 a.m.: Lawyers remedied their declaration to state that 20 more ladies collaborated in a claim, not 21. 
Update, 12: 22 p.m.:  Adds remark from Lyft spokesperson. 
Update, 2: 29 p.m.:  Adds extra background details.