Leesburg, Fla. – A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against ride-sharing company Lyft, claiming that she was sexually assaulted, raped, and impregnated by one of their drivers. The complaint, filed in federal court in California, alleges that the incident occurred after the woman, identified as Tabatha Means, requested a ride through the Lyft app and was followed into her home by the driver.
Means, who is a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, stated that the assault has caused significant trauma and resulted in a complicated pregnancy, leading to an emergency cesarean section. DNA tests have confirmed that the Lyft driver is the father of her child.
Means’ attorney, Rachel Abrams, has accused Lyft of advertising itself as a safe alternative for vulnerable individuals, particularly young women, while neglecting to implement adequate driver background checks and monitoring systems.
Lyft has responded to the allegations, stating that the incident did not take place on their platform while using the Lyft app, but involved a separate trip arranged between the individuals. The company has emphasized its commitment to safety, mentioning their safety response team, partnership with ADT for emergencies, and collaboration with national organizations to inform safety policies.
The lawsuit, seeking damages totaling over $75,000, includes claims of negligence, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.
The case highlights the ongoing concern over the safety of ride-sharing services and the need for comprehensive measures to protect passengers. In response to the allegations, Means’ attorney is calling for fingerprint-based background checks, improvements to the in-app tracking system, and mandatory dash cameras during all rides.
Lyft maintains that it prioritizes safety and conducts thorough criminal background checks on driver applicants. However, the company has yet to disclose safety data from 2020 onwards.
The lawsuit shines a light on the challenges faced by victims of sexual assault and the importance of reporting these incidents. Means, who initially refrained from reporting the rape out of fear, hopes that her case will encourage others to come forward and use their voices against such acts of violence.