A Bay Area law firm is representing dozens of women who are suing Uber over alleged sexual attacks in multiple states across the U.S. As of June 28, 2021, more than 80 cases had been submitted in a court petition as a single legal action.
Lawyer Meghan McCormick is representing the plaintiffs. According to the lawsuit, as discussed in The Mercury News, Uber new as early as 2014 that its drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers: “In the seven years since, sexual predators driving for Uber have continued to sexually assault, harass, kidnap, physically assault, and/or rape Uber’s passengers. Uber has failed to implement basic safety measures necessary to prevent these serious sexual assaults, which continue to this day.”
The lawsuit was filed on May 25. The women are all being identified as “Jane Doe,” and details of the claimed attacks are not mentioned in most cases. McCormick only expects her firm to disclose details of the attacks as necessary.
According to Uber, it hasn’t received enough details from the plaintiffs’ lawyer to connect the claims back to its drivers. In cases with sufficient information, Uber claims to have banned those drivers from the platform. In a statement from Uber, the company said, “Sexual assault is a devastating crime, and although no industry is immune from these issues, we remain steadfast in our commitment to support victims and help stop sexual violence by collaborating with experts, pioneering safety tech solutions, and setting the standard of transparency and accountability.”
This is not the first time Uber has been hit with lawsuits regarding alleged sexual attacks. In December 2020, the company was hit with a $59 million fine from the California Public Utilities Commission for allegedly failing to include reported attacks and responses in its Safety Report.
The lawsuits are not limited to Uber. Lyft is the subject of similar legal action and is facing dozens of claims that have also been consolidated into one legal action. Lyft has been accused of failing to protect female passengers from “sexual predators” in the driver’s seat. A petition has been filed to unify the lawsuits. A judge from the Judge Council of California will be assigned to rule on the request.
Both companies claim to be making continuous efforts to improve rider safety. For example, Uber recently added a registration program to help drivers understand local laws regarding dashboard cameras.
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