On June 16, 2022, Lyft reached a preliminary $25 million settlement with its shareholders. If approved by the court, this settlement will resolve issues related to the company’s failure to report damaging information ahead of its public offering.
In 2019, Lyft became the first ride-sharing platform to go public. The company faced a class action lawsuit from shareholders soon after. The lawsuit alleged that Lyft neglected to disclose threats to its business ahead of going public. Such threats included ongoing sexual abuse claims against the company.
The settlement will vindicate shareholders’ rights, not victims’ rights. The lawsuit is about how abuse allegations affected shareholders’ business interests. It is not about how alleged abuse affected victims. The money from this settlement will not go to victims who have filed sexual abuse lawsuits against Lyft. The settlement is also not an admission of guilt, as the company continues to deny wrongdoing. However, it may suggest problems at Lyft are bigger than the public realizes.
Lyft’s Settlement With Shareholders Does Not Resolve Sexual Abuse Claims
Lyft’s settlement does not resolve any of the ongoing sexual abuse claims filed by victims or other safety claims against the company. According to Lyft spokesperson Gabriela Condarco-Quesada in a statement to CNN, “This settlement resolves a shareholder class action related to statements in Lyft’s initial public offering (IPO) and its financial impact on investors — it’s not about safety-related claims on the platform.”
Shareholders filed the lawsuit against the company after dozens of reports of sexual assault from using Lyft came to light following their 2019 IPO. Shareholders claimed the company had cultivated a brand image of being safe and socially conscious. However, it failed to disclose these claims, which detail safety risks and misconduct.
Lyft has faced thousands of safety-related claims before and after going public. In 2018, both Uber and Lyft agreed to begin releasing safety reports. In October 2021, Lyft finally released its first safety report. The report revealed more than 4,000 reported sexual assaults between 2017 and 2019. Reports of sexual assaults came from both riders assaulted by drivers and Lyft drivers assaulted by passengers. The company has also documented other types of physical assaults, some of which were fatal.
As of June 2021, at least 72 passengers have filed lawsuits against Lyft over alleged safety incidents, including sexual assault.
Lyft’s History Of Mishandling Abuse Allegations
Lyft has a history of being slow to address abuse issues and put in place new, effective safety features. In 2018, Lyft pledged to release a safety report following criticism of the company’s handling of assault allegations. However, the report was not released until October 2021.
In December 2019, 20 individuals sued the company. The complaint alleged Lyft does not do enough to protect those using the service. Lyft claimed it was actively confronting such incidents and implemented new safety features.
The new features included an in-app 911 feature for passengers and riders. Lyft also began implementing continuous background checks for drivers. In a 2019 statement, the company announced it would require sexual violence prevention education with Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN).
However, Lyft was slow in implementing these new features. Based on Lyft’s safety report and other reports, these new features have not been enough to keep Lyft users safe.
For instance, in 2021, a Chicago Lyft driver was caught up in a drive-by shooting and later physically assaulted. Although the driver used Lyft’s panic button to notify its emergency team, he received no assistance from the company. In another instance, the company failed to protect a female driver from a male passenger she had reported for sexual harassment.
Lyft Assault Victims Have Legal Options
Although Lyft agreed to settle claims with its shareholders, the company continues to face lawsuits from riders and drivers who were victims of rideshare sexual assault. Survivors of Lyft rideshare assault have options to report abuse and consider legal action.
Survivors may report sexual abuse or assaults in several ways. For instance, victims may alert law enforcement by phone or in person. Some police departments may also offer ways for victims to anonymously report abuse. It can be difficult to relive the experience, so survivors should consider what method is most comfortable for them.
Survivors of rideshare assault may also consider seeking legal guidance. Through taking legal action, they may find comfort and a sense of relief and justice. A lawsuit can help survivors hold Lyft and their abuser(s) accountable. Survivors may also receive financial compensation through a lawsuit.
Deciding to pursue legal action can be difficult. But survivors are not alone. Experienced rideshare assault lawyers can help individuals review their options and help throughout the legal process.
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Godoy, J and Stempel, J. (2022, June 16). Lyft reaches $25 million settlement of claims it hid safety problems before IPO. Reuters.
O’Brien, SA. (2022, June 16). Lyft agrees to $25 million settlement with shareholders over safety-related allegations. CNN Business.
O’Brien, SA. (2021, June 11). Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault incidents as cases grow. CNN Business.
Perez, S. (2019, May 21). Lyft adds more safety features, including in-app emergency assistance, reminders to check the plate. TechCrunch.