Nineteen girls sued Lyft this week, becoming a member of a rising record of people that say the favored ride-hailing service didn’t forestall drivers from sexually assaulting them, then ignored the complaints.
The lawsuit is the most recent to accuse Lyft of failing to enact primary security measures that might have prevented the alleged assaults. After the ladies reported the assaults, Lyft didn’t comply with up on their complaints or performed down the seriousness of what occurred, in response to the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday within the Superior Courtroom of San Francisco.
“It’s not simply the truth that these sexual assaults occurred. It’s concerning the cover-up,” stated Michael Bomberger, a San Diego-based lawyer who filed the swimsuit. He filed one other lawsuit in September, when 14 girls got here ahead to say they’d been sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers.
Mr. Bomberger stated lots of the girls he represents had gone to the police solely to study that Lyft, a San Francisco-based firm that competes with Uber for drivers and passengers, had refused to supply info that might have helped investigators.
“Lyft doesn’t even tell our clients who the driver is so they can get a temporary restraining order,” Mr. Bomberger said. “What Lyft is doing on so many levels is done with the intent of silencing the victims and protecting their brand.”
Alexandra LaManna, a spokeswoman for Lyft, said on Thursday: “What has been described is something no one should ever have to endure. Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks.”
She added that this year, nearly one in five employees at the company had been dedicated to initiatives strengthening the platform’s safety, and that in recent months it had introduced more than 15 new safety features.
In the wake of the September lawsuit, Lyft announced that it had been screening drivers’ criminal backgrounds daily to find out if they had been arrested. Lyft said it already had effective security measures in place, like a feature that lets passengers tell their friends and family where they are going.
Mr. Bomberger said the company needed to do far more, like installing video and audio surveillance that would let drivers know they are being recorded.
One of the first women to sue Lyft, who asked to be identified by her middle name, Ann, said she wanted the company to admit its responsibility for the assaults.
“They just dismiss us,” Ann said. “I just want them to acknowledge that they need to do something.”
Ann, 39, was out drinking with friends in March 2018 when she used Lyft to go back to her apartment in Marlborough, Mass. She was heavily intoxicated, and the driver helped her walk up the stairs to her apartment.
When she got inside, he spun her around by the shoulders and forced her to perform oral sex on him, she said.
The driver has been charged with one count of rape and has pleaded not guilty.
Ann said she knows he lives in her town and remains terrified she will see him again.
“I can’t shop. I can’t get gas in my own town,” she said. “I can’t do anything.”
More than 200 women have come forward to say they were assaulted by Lyft or Uber drivers, according to Mr. Bomberger and Rachel Abrams, a San Francisco-based lawyer who has also filed a suit against Lyft.
Ms. Abrams said the victims ranged in age between 20 and 40. Many of them were drunk or unconscious when the alleged assaults occurred. One woman who was assaulted is blind, Mr. Bomberger said, and another has autism.