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Woman Sues Lyft Alleging Driver Repeatedly Raped Her

Tabatha Means has filed a lawsuit against Lyft, claiming that she was raped by her driver in 2019, leading to the birth of her son.

In a recent legal action against Lyft, a Florida woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by her Lyft driver in 2019, resulting in the birth of her third child. This lawsuit is the latest in a series of sexual assault accusations against the ride-sharing company.

Lyft has countered these allegations, asserting that the reported assault occurred during an “off-app” ride, after the completion of an official Lyft trip with the same driver. The company claims to have only learned about the incident years after it transpired.

Plaintiff Tabatha Means stated that what she had hoped would be a short ride back to where she was staying after a night out quickly became uncomfortable when the driver asked her to sit in the front seat, and then began complimenting and inappropriately touching her, according to the complaint filed January 10 in California Northern District Court.

When they arrived at her destination, the driver allegedly insisted on helping her inside, “purportedly due to her intoxication,” and despite her protests. Once inside, he assaulted her repeatedly, the complaint states.

Means’ lawsuit is just the latest legal action against a rideshare company over alleged sexual assault or misconduct. Lyft — like its competitor Uber — has faced dozens of lawsuits over the issue. While much of the civil litigation against the company remains ongoing, Lyft has denied the allegations against it. Separately, at least a handful of Lyft drivers accused of sexual assault have been convicted in criminal cases.

The suit also comes as some states have sought to implement tighter safety restrictions for rideshare companies, as well as increased protections for the companies’ drivers. Illinois lawmakers last year proposed a bill that would hold Uber and Lyft to a higher safety standard, which the companies opposed.

Lyft has repeatedly said that its service is safe, noting that such attacks are extremely rare and pointing to increased safety measures it has introduced in recent years, such as the ability to “share” a ride so a friend can track its progress, and an emergency alert feature in partnership with security company ADT.

The company also says it has an “around-the-clock” safety team and an automated safety check-in feature, where the app will send a notification asking if a rider and driver are okay if a ride goes off-route, stops for an unusual amount of time, or is canceled after pick-up.

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft and the behavior described has no place in our society,” Lyft said in a statement in response to Means’ lawsuit. Lyft has not yet formally responded to the lawsuit in court.

“The alleged incident from 2019 did not take place on the Lyft platform while using the Lyft app, but rather involved a separate trip arranged between the individuals involved. Lyft has worked to design policies and features that protect both drivers and riders, and we are always working to make Lyft an even safer platform,” the company said.

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