Ridesharing company Lyft has been hit with a nationwide lawsuit from 14 women who claim they were sexually assaulted and raped by their drivers.
The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Lyft mishandled complaints of sexual assault, misconduct, and rape against drivers that occurred while the women were using its service. The anonymous plaintiffs said they reported their assaults to Lyft, but claim the company kept them in the dark despite assurances that their complaints would be treated seriously.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that among the plaintiffs is a Los Angeles woman who alleges that she was riding home from a Halloween party in a Lyft car last year when the driver told her he loved her and took her phone away, then smoked drugs and drove her to a beach where he raped her.
In another alleged attack, a blind woman said her Lyft driver took her to a grocery store near her home in Alabama in 2018, after which he drove her home, forced his way into her residence and raped her.
“Since 2015, sexual predators driving for Lyft have continued to assault and rape Lyft’s female passengers,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in their suit, according to the Chronicle. “Unfortunately, Lyft prioritizes profits over passenger safety.”
Lyft said in a statement to media outlets that it engages in “continuous criminal monitoring” of its drivers and that it plans to make “sexual harassment prevention training available to riders and drivers.”
Lyft said it has deactivated each of the accounts it was able to identify based on the named drivers in the lawsuit.
But the suit alleges the company “chooses to stonewall” law enforcement and has chosen to “hide and conceal” the size of its “sexual predator crisis.”
Ridesharing companies have faced mounting accusations of sexual assaults committed by drivers. Uber has been hit with a slew of allegations involving its drivers, including the case of a driver in Pennsylvania who was found guilty earlier this year of raping an intoxicated passenger.
In another case, an illegal migrant was arrested in Bordeaux, France, in August after being accused of raping a woman while working as a delivery man for Uber Eats.
Lyft, which is based in San Francisco, has also faced its share of allegations against drivers. Police arrested a former Lyft driver in 2017 after he allegedly raped a female passenger in Indianapolis.
The new lawsuit could be Lyft’s biggest legal challenge to date involving alleged sexual assault. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages.