The lawsuit claims that Lyft has refused to assist police investigations into sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by its drivers.
Dozens of women are suing Lyft, accusing the popular rideshare service of not doing enough to prevent sexual assaults.
According to The New York Times, this lawsuit is the latest among many. Passengers who claim to have been assaulted by Lyft drivers say the company didn’t take their complaints seriously. Some plaintiffs allege that Lyft didn’t follow up on crime reports—others say the company tried to shrug off the seriousness of what had occurred.
“It’s not just about the fact that these sexual assaults happened,” said San Diego-based attorney Michael Bomberger, who filed the suit on Wednesday. “It’s about the cover-up.”
Bomberger told the New York Times that many of his clients had gone to the police to report sexual assaults. But law enforcement later told them that Lyft stonewalled investigators, refusing to provide information.
“Lyft doesn’t even tell our clients who the driver is so they can get a temporary restraining order,” Bomberger said. “What Lyft is doing on so many levels is done with the intent of silencing the victims and protecting their brand.”
While Lyft appeared not to deny the allegations, a company spokesperson reaffirmed their commitment to women’s safety.
“What has been described is something no one should ever have to endure,” spokeswoman Alex LaManna said on Thursday. “Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks.”
LaManna further told the Times that an estimated 1 out of every 5 Lyft employees works on projects related to safety. In recent months, says LaManna, Lyft has introduced more than 15 new safety features.
However, this lawsuit isn’t the first to accuse Lyft of not taking women’s safety seriously. The company began reforming its policies in September, but only after facing the thread of extended litigation. Nowadays, Lyft scans driver records daily to ensure that its contractors haven’t been arrested since beginning work.
Bomberger, though, says whatever Lyft has done isn’t enough. He wants the company to install video and audio surveillance systems that can monitor drivers in real time.
But some of Bomberger’s clients don’t even want that—they just want Lyft to admit its role in their assaults.
“They just dismiss us,” said Ann, a plaintiff who asked the New York Times to omit her surname. “I just want them to acknowledge that they need to do something.”
Ann says she took a Lyft home after a night of heavy drinking. The driver offered to walk her to the door, then allegedly grabbed her shoulders and forced her to perform oral sex. He was charged with one count of rape and has pleaded not guilty.
The Times adds that many other plaintiffs, like Ann, were intoxicated or semi-conscious when they were allegedly assaulted. One woman is blind, while another is autistic.
19 Women Sue Lyft as Sexual Assault Allegations Mount
Lyft sued by 19 women who allege they were harassed or raped by drivers
Lyft sued by 20 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers
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