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Uber Driver Sex Assault Lawsuits

Over the past few years, rideshare giants Uber and Lyft have largely supplanted traditional taxicabs nationwide, providing millions of people with transportation services. However, both Uber and Lyft have confronted an increasing number of accusations and civil lawsuits from rideshare passengers, specifically alleging incidents of sexual assault by drivers. The legal actions assert that Uber, in particular, should bear responsibility for these sexual assaults due to alleged negligence in adequately screening its drivers.

The sexual abuse and assault lawsuits involving Uber drivers have been consolidated into a class action MDL (In re: Uber Technologies Inc., Passenger Sexual Assault Litigation – MDL No. 3084). Our national mass tort firm is currently accepting new Uber sexual assault cases. If you were assaulted by an Uber driver, contact us today at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us for help online.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit News and Updates

Before we get into the substance of the claims in an Uber sexual assault lawsuit, let’s start first with the latest news and updates in the litigation:

July 12, 2024: In a highly significant ruling earlier this week, the MDL court granted the plaintiffs access to specific documents and data regarding safety incidents, including GPS data and trip details. This information is essential for identifying patterns of sexual assault and misconduct, understanding what Uber knew about these incidents, and evaluating the company’s response.

However, it was not a complete victory. Uber’s sexual abuse lawyers sought access to all 800,000 user reports reviewed by Uber in preparing its safety reports. The court deemed this request too broad, noting that many of these reports were unrelated to sexual misconduct or safety issues. Instead, the court directed Uber to produce documents and data specifically related to incidents of sexual assault and misconduct. While comprehensive access was desired, this decision is a significant step forward.

July 1, 2024: The Uber driver sexual assault class action MDL added 45 new cases during the month of June. That is an increase of 16% since last month and there are now 321 cases pending in the MDL.

June 15, 2024: A woman from Clackamas County, Oregon became one of the more recent victims to file a lawsuit against Uber alleging that she was sexually assaulted by one of its rideshare drivers. According to the complaint, which was filed directly in the Uber driver sex assault MDL, the Uber driver aggressively flirted with her the entire ride. Then when they arrived at her destination, the driver grabbed the plaintiff’s arm when she tried to exit the vehicle and forcefully pulled her back while attempting to kiss her and force himself onto her.

May 29, 2024: There are now 297 lawsuits in the MDL Uber class action lawsuit.  Additionally, there are 395 lawsuits pending in California state court under the Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP), which is a procedural mechanism used in California to handle complex litigation involving numerous related cases.

The JCCP functions like an MDL. It allows for coordinated pretrial proceedings to improve efficiency and consistency across these numerous cases, which predominantly involve incidents occurring within the state. This dual-track litigation setup underscores the extensive scope of the legal challenges Uber faces related to passenger sexual assault allegations.

May 21, 2024: A California appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against Lyft Inc., in which a former driver alleged the company was responsible for his stabbing by a passenger because it did not perform background checks on passengers. The court ruled that Lyft has no duty to conduct such checks, deeming them burdensome and contrary to public policy. The court noted that implementing background checks on all passengers would be costly and complex, especially since the number of passengers significantly exceeds the number of drivers.

The court highlighted potential social and privacy issues, including discrimination concerns and the implications for consumer privacy under the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act. Additionally, it found that the effectiveness of such checks in preventing violent incidents needs to be clarified and questioned whether the attack could have been anticipated or prevented even with background checks. The court affirmed that the plaintiff did not establish that the incident was foreseeable or that a background check would have flagged the attacker as a threat.

Is this an alarming development in rideshare sexual assault cases?  The reflex is to say yes, right?  But it really is not reasonable to expect Lyft and Uber to do background checks on every single passenger.  Making claims that are clearly a reach that distracts the many more viable sexual assault lawsuits in this litigation.

May 1, 2024: During April, 12 new cases were transferred into the Uber passenger sexual assault MDL. There are now 252 total cases pending in that MDL.

April 12, 2024: Uber has introduced a series of new safety features aimed at improving passenger protection, mainly focusing on the safety of young female passengers. These measures were detailed in a press release on April 10. Among the updates is a RideCheck feature that actively monitors rides for any deviations or unexpected stops, alerting passengers to ensure everything is proceeding as expected. A PIN verification system has also been implemented, providing passengers with a four-digit code to confirm their driver’s identity matches the booking made through the app.

Uber has also introduced an audio recording feature, allowing passengers to record their trips. These recordings are securely stored in encrypted files, accessible to Uber only when the passenger files a safety report. Another significant addition is the Share My Trip option, which allows passengers to share their real-time location and trip details with friends or family members.

These updates represent positive steps, showing that Uber is now taking safety seriously. However, it’s difficult not to link these enhancements to the Uber sexual assault lawsuits, which have raised serious safety concerns after years of inadequate measures that put passengers at risk. For victims of Uber sexual assaults, these changes may feel like too little, too late.

March 22, 2024: Upcoming deadlines in the Uber MDL class action:

  1. February 15, 2024: The deadline for plaintiffs on file as of February 1, 2024, to submit bona fide ride receipts or detailed ride information as per Pretrial Order No. 5.
  2. Within 14 days of filing, transfer, or removal: For all cases filed, transferred, or removed to the court after February 1, 2024, plaintiffs must submit the required ride receipt or information.
  3. March 26, 2024: The cutoff date for cases to be filed, transferred, or considered as part of the initial batch for fact sheet completion and document submission. Plaintiffs and Uber Defendants in cases on or before this date must complete and submit their respective fact sheets and produce responsive documents within 60 days after March 26, 2024.
  4. Within 30 days of the case being filed, removed, or transferred: For cases entering the MDL after March 26, 2024, plaintiffs must complete and submit a Plaintiff Fact Sheet (PFS), and Uber Defendants must complete and submit a Defendant Fact Sheet (DFS) along with producing responsive documents, contingent upon the plaintiff serving the required ride receipt or information.
  5. Within 90 days of receiving supplemental information: If a plaintiff provides supplemental ride information or a ride receipt allowing Uber Defendants to identify a specific trip and/or driver not previously identified, Uber Defendants have 90 days to serve a supplemental DFS.
  6. March 25, 2024: The deadline for the parties to file a stipulation for limited amendments to the fact sheets or this Pretrial Order, subject to the Court’s approval.

Uber Sex Assault Lawsuits

Uber is a major company generating billions in revenue. Its millions of drivers transport passengers across all 50 states in the U.S. Legally, Uber drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees.

However, in the past decade, Uber has faced an escalating wave of complaints, public scrutiny, and civil lawsuits concerning incidents of rideshare passengers being detained and sexually assaulted by Uber drivers. As Uber expanded, reports and stories emerged regularly, depicting Uber drivers subjecting passengers to sexual assault. The incidents often follow a similar pattern, involving an Uber driver luring a vulnerable passenger into the vehicle, diverting from the intended destination, and carrying out a sexual assault in a secluded area.

Uber’s own safety and incident reporting data reveal an average of 3,000 to 7,000 reports of alleged sexual assault from Uber passengers annually. The majority of these reports involve allegations of non-consensual sexual touching, while a smaller percentage includes more serious accusations, such as forcible rape. It’s important to note that these numbers are self-reported by Uber and may not accurately represent the true extent of the issue.

Allegations in Sex Assault Lawsuits Against Uber

Uber has recently become a defendant in a growing number of civil lawsuits filed by rideshare passengers who allege they were sexually assaulted by an Uber driver. These lawsuits assert that Uber was negligent in its failure to adequately screen and conduct background checks on drivers before hiring them.

According to the Uber sexual assault lawsuits, the company prioritized rapid growth over passenger safety. It is claimed that Uber facilitated an easy sign-up process for drivers, utilizing a background-check system through a company called Hirease, Inc., boasting a vetting time of 36 hours. In pursuit of quick approvals, Uber departed from industry standards, foregoing fingerprinting and checks against private databases, including FBI records.

For sure, these shortcuts contributed to Uber’s growth and made them a lot of money.  The question Uber sex abuse lawyers are asking is how many women were sexually assaulted as a result of these shortcuts?  At one point, Uber was so focused on expansion that it sent cell phones to applicant drivers, enabling them to start driving before Uber’s background check was complete.

The lawsuits further allege that Uber’s executives decided against interviewing or training drivers to ensure they understood their responsibilities and appropriate conduct with passengers. Uber is accused of failing to implement protective policies against sexual assault, such as a zero-tolerance approach to fraternizing or making sexual advances towards passengers, particularly engaging in sexual activity or touching. The lawsuits argue that Uber’s negligence in disregarding these policies and opting for a superficial background check process led to increased rates of sexual assaults by Uber drivers.

Uber Sex Assault Class Action

An Uber sexual assault MDL is currently underway, although it is commonly referred to as a class action. While the distinction between the two terms exists, our sexual abuse lawyers use “class action” in line with public understanding. The MDL, or multidistrict litigation, is a legal procedure employed in federal courts to consolidate multiple civil cases sharing common factual issues into a single district court. This consolidation enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and ensures consistent rulings across similar cases, such as those involving Uber sexual assault.

In October 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to consolidate all pending Uber sexual assault cases in federal courts into a new MDL, assigned to a judge in the Northern District of California. This means that all future federal court Uber sexual assault cases will be automatically transferred into the MDL. The cases within the MDL will undergo a consolidated discovery process, followed by the selection of representative cases for bellwether test trials. The outcomes of these trials are intended to guide settlement negotiations.

For individuals with federal court Uber sexual assault lawsuits in various states, including New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and others, their cases will be transferred to California for consolidated proceedings. If no settlement emerges from the MDL, the cases will return to federal courts in their respective states.

The MDL encompasses incidents where passengers were allegedly victims of sexual assault by Uber drivers. The victims argue that Uber has the means to enhance ride safety but has been slow and inadequate in its response. Criticisms include substandard background checks and failure to remove drivers after sexual assault allegations. Suggestions for improved safety measures involve fingerprint background checks and dashcam recordings for every ride.

This MDL signifies a critical juncture for Uber, emphasizing the urgency and complexity of addressing passenger safety in the rideshare industry. It also marks a significant moment in legal history as the first instance of a federal judge overseeing such a broad range of cases against Uber, aiming to streamline proceedings and bring clarity to numerous individual claims.

How Much Can You Get for an Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

Most mass tort MDLs eventually get resolved in a comprehensive global settlement, wherein the defendant pays a substantial sum to address all pending cases. Individual cases are then categorized into tiers, considering factors like the strength of evidence and the severity of injuries. Higher-tier cases receive more substantial settlement payouts compared to lower-tier cases.

In the context of Uber sexual assault cases, our mass tort lawyers anticipate that settlement tier values could fall within the range of $100,000 to $400,000. Cases in the highest tiers are expected to involve forcible rape with strong evidence, leading to larger settlement payouts. Conversely, lower-tier cases will pertain to instances of lesser degrees of sexual assault.

Call Us About an Uber Sexual Assault Case

If you were sexually assaulted by an Uber driver, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and participate in any settlement.  Our lawyers hare handling these lawsuits nationwide.  Contact our sexual assault lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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