Lyft sued by 17 who allege assault on ridershare platform

Lyft is facing legal action filed by 17 passengers and drivers who claim they were sexually or physically assaulted while using the rideshare platform.

Attorneys say the alleged incidents, occurring across a number of states, include 13 sexual assault and four physical assault victims.

“Lyft has created a national crisis,” Adam Wolf, partner at Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise (which filed the lawsuits and arbitration claims), told reporters Wednesday in a press conference. “This is happening everywhere. It can and will happen wherever Lyft is operating, because this systemic failure, it cuts to the very core of how Lyft does business.”

The attorneys claim in one of the filings that the company doesn’t perform adequate background check, allows culpable drivers to keep driving for Lyft, and has “failed to adopt and implement reasonable driver monitoring procedures designed to protect the safety of its passengers.”

In an emailed response to the allegations, Lyft spokesperson Gabriela Condarco-Quesada said the company is “committed to helping keep drivers and riders safe.”

“While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many. Our goal is to make every Lyft ride as safe as possible, and we will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to do so,” Condarco-Quesada said.

The company added that it believes the attorneys made a number of false or misleading claims when discussing the cases during the Wednesday press conference. Lyft pointed to a number of its safety features, including its partnership with ADT, a driver-required community safety education course, annual driver screenings, and the ability to share the ride’s ongoing location with a contact.

Tracey Cowen, partner at Peiffer Wolf, said during the press conference that while Lyft “claims that its drivers can decline any ride they like,” the company “consistently refuses to give drivers the information they need to avoid a dangerous ride.” She adds that Lyft should implement things like more comprehensive background screenings and put dash cams in every car.

The cases are the latest among a series of lawsuits that have been filed against Lyft and competitor Uber in recent years as they work to combat safety issues. Last month, attorneys with the Slater Slater Schulman firm filed a complaint against Uber representing women who claim they were assaulted by drivers who they were connected to via the platform.

In its first safety report that was released last year, Lyft said it received reports of more than 4,000 sexual assault instances on the platform between 2017 and 2019. The company at the time stressed that more than 99% of trips occur without any incident.

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