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Uber, Lyft aware of sexual assaults by drivers vs female passengers, but not addressing the problems, new lawsuits say

Uber and Lyft are facing new lawsuits in state court over accusations the rideshare services failed to adequately prevent their drivers from sexually assaulting female passengers.

Attorneys from Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise, of San Francisco, and Johnson Law Group, of Houston, sued Uber Technologies on April 3 in San Francisco County Superior Court.

Plaintiffs […]  are unidentified women, although both said they would disclose their identities and the circumstances surrounding their allegations to the companies. The Uber passenger, a Michigan resident, said her assault and harassment happened during a ride on April 1, 2020. […]

The Uber lawsuit alleged the driver “made verbal sexual advances toward plaintiff” during the ride, and when the car arrived at the destination, “he got out of the vehicle and opened the back door so plaintiff could exit the vehicle. Once plaintiff exited the vehicle, Uber Driver grabbed plaintiff and put his hands inside her pants in a sexually inappropriate manner. Uber Driver touched plaintiff’s undergarments and the top of her pubic area without plaintiff’s consent. Plaintiff screamed and Uber Driver removed his hands from the inside of plaintiff’s underwear and got back into his vehicle and drove away.”

[C]omplaints contained several allegations about the companies’ published pledges about the safety of its service and the driver hiring processes, including a claimed failure to adequately screen drivers and to adopt zero-tolerance policies for responding to customer complaints. They also made allegations about the degree to which the companies exert control over the entire customer experience, including fares and allowable conversation topics between riders and drivers, arguing the companies shouldn’t be able to contend they aren’t liable for the conduct of independent contractors.


The Uber lawsuit contains similar allegations, including that “since 2014, Uber has received frequent passenger complaints about driver sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and rape, it has been notified of police investigations of the criminal sexual conduct of drivers acting within their capacity as Uber drivers, and it has been the subject of numerous civil suits alleging the sexual harassment and sexual assault of Uber’s passengers by Uber’s drivers.”

[…] The Uber plaintiff likewise seeks damages, including punitive compensation. Both women requested a jury trial.

Full story: Northern California Record, Scott Holland – April 17, 2023

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