Lyft has announced a major change to its User Agreement. Lyft will no longer demand arbitration when passengers report they have been sexually assaulted or harassed by drivers. Arbitration (which is costly and generally viewed as a pro-business dispute resolution method), rather than a jury trial, had previously been required to resolve disputes under Lyft’s User Agreement.
The decision by Lyft follows a similar decision earlier in the day by its competitor, Uber. The policy change is hailed as a victory for sexual assault and abuse victims who are pursuing civil justice. But the change was not without public pressure. It comes on the heels of a CNN investigation that exposed numerous incidents of sexual assaults and abuse by Uber drivers. CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. Moreover, at least 31 Ubers drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape, and dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending.
Prior to this announcement, when signing up for Lyft service, users were required to agree to resolve any claims on an individual basis through arbitration. The practice, which has been largely unsuccessfully challenged in civil lawsuits, helped the company keep the issue of widespread sexual assault quiet and largely out of the public record. Victims will now have the choice of venue to pursue their claims of sexual sexual assault or harassment — mediation, arbitration, or open court with a jury trial. Lyft will also end its practice of requiring confidentiality agreements when settling lawsuit with sexual abuse victims.
Attorney Adam Horowitz called this announcement by Lyft a win for victims of sexual assault and for transparency. “Victims will now have an opportunity have their day in Court with the right to a jury trial as guaranteed by our Constitution”, according to Adam Horowitz.
Attorney Adam Horowitz represents victims of sexual assault by rideshare drivers. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, battery, or rape by a driver for Lyft, Uber or another ride-sharing program, please contact attorney Adam Horowitz via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-641-2100 for a free consultation