The complaint was filed in San Francisco Superior Court. The lawsuit claims Lyft states “safety is our top priority” while allowing known sexual predators to transport vulnerable passengers. It alleges Lyft conceals sexual assault complaints from both law enforcement and the general public. “Lyft has made a concerted effort in the media, in litigation and in criminal cases to hide and conceal the true extent of sexual assaults that occur in their vehicles,” it says.
The lawsuit further claims that Lyft not only fails to report rapes and sexual crimes to police, they also have adopted policies to silence and frustrate victims that report these crimes. “A company truly interested in making vehicles safer would adopt a policy of reporting crimes to police,” attorney Mike Bomberger said.
The lawsuit claims that in a two-year period between 2014 and 2016, Lyft received nearly 100 sexual assault complaints against its drivers in California.
“The 14 victims we represent and California’s nearly 100 sexual assault complaints are just the tip of the iceberg,” attorney Stephen Estey said. “Sexual assault is one of the least reported crimes, consequently, we know that many more assaults occurred than were reported.”
One complaint comes from a young blind woman, Jane Roe 10, who was allegedly raped by a driver in Alabama after he mocked her about her blindness and took her cane away.
The complaint also details the sexual assault claim made by Jane Roe 7 whose driver was convicted of the assault. During the investigation, police learned he was allowed to drive for Lyft after they were notified of the assault.
In addition, the lawsuit states that Lyft does not perform adequate background checks, does not fingerprint drivers and has failed to adopt driver monitoring procedures that would protect the safety of passengers.
“Lyft could make simple changes to their app to protect passengers and eliminate future assaults but they have chosen not to. Adding an automatic audio and video recording to rides would prevent future assaults,” attorney Mike Bomberger said.
For example, the driver who sexually assaulted Jane Roe 11 was convicted because a friend of Roe 11, who was also riding in the Lyft vehicle, recorded part of the ride.
“Without the cell phone recording, Roe 11’s case would have turned into a case of ‘he said-she said’ and this criminal would still be driving for Lyft. We believe Lyft knows how many assaults occur within their cars and that is why they don’t want Lyft rides recorded,” Bomberger said.
The lawsuit also alleges that the Lyft ride-share app is defective because drivers can turn it off before they reach their destination, and Lyft knows that’s what predator drivers do.
The law firm of Estey & Bomberger is asking Lyft and Uber sexual assault victims, along with former employees of these two ride-sharing firms, to contact its office by calling (866) 964-1708 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org