Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have faced an unending series of lawsuits in recent years. As well as claims brought by passengers involved in accidents, passengers brought sex crimes lawsuits. In a recent case, an Uber driver was sued for alleged multiple sexual assaults.
The lawsuits were brought in Tennessee. They accuse an Uber driver of exposing himself to a rider just days after he assaulted another rider in a nearby town. The Uber driver was indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury for the two incidents, reported The Chattanoogan.
Two women claimed Uber was negligent to retain the driver after the first incident. They are seeking at least $25,000. Police charged the driver with stalking, sexual battery, harassment, and indecent exposure.
The lawsuit claimed the driver locked the first woman in his car and groped her at the end of the trip on July 22, 2017. The woman immediately contacted the local police and Uber. The company told her it launched an internal investigation. The woman’s fare was refunded. Uber said it placed a restriction on the woman’s profile so that she would never encounter the driver again.
The lawsuit claimed the company failed to protect other potential victims from the driver.
Just 15 days later, on Aug. 6, 2017, the Uber driver was accused of picking up another passenger, starting an inappropriate conversation, and exposing himself to her, demanding she touch him. The second passenger also called the police and contacted Uber, according to reports.
This time, Uber took six days to respond. Once again, the company promised an internal investigation and said the driver would not be paired with the rider. According to media reports, the second rider told Uber she wanted the driver’s account to be suspended. Uber finally banned the driver from the app.
The lawsuit against Uber highlighted both negligent hiring and negligent retention. Uber has faced many negligent hiring lawsuits in the past for failing to check the credentials of a driver. Negligent retention lawsuits are less common.
Last year, negligent hiring lawsuits were filed in California and Missouri, following claims from two women who said they were assaulted by Uber drivers.
Both lawsuits questioned Uber’s customer support and safety practices. Uber was accused of prioritizing speed and cutting costs ahead of comprehensive driver-screening processes.
In California, an attorney accused Uber of using a system designed to allow the company to hire as many drivers as possible while incurring minimal associated costs. The lawsuit argued the victims were female riders.
The lawsuit in Kansas City, Mo., pointed out Uber consistently markets its driver background checking process as being more rigorous than that of taxi drivers but the application process is designed for speed rather than safety.
Earlier this year, an article in FindLaw stated more than 100 Uber drivers nationwide have been charged with abuse and assault. Some were accused of multiple sexual assaults.
If you or a family member believe you have grounds to file a lawsuit against Uber or another ride-hailing company, please contact the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.