Uber Fights Back in Sexual Assault Lawsuit MDL: Motions to Dismiss Filed

uber rideshare assault lawsuits

Uber Moves To Dismiss Six Rideshare Assault Lawsuits, But Will It Work?

Ride-sharing giant Uber is facing a growing number of lawsuits from passengers alleging sexual assault by drivers. These lawsuits have been consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) overseen by Judge Charles R. Breyer in California. However, Uber is now pushing back, filing motions to dismiss a number of these cases.

Uber's defense strategy

On April 1st, Uber's lawyers filed six motions to dismiss lawsuits, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to state a valid claim. Five motions target lawsuits filed under the laws of specific states, including California, Florida, and Texas. 

Uber claims these cases should be dismissed due to a previous class action settlement and unfair competition laws. Additionally, a sixth motion seeks dismissal of a Maryland lawsuit involving an assault that occurred outside the United States.

Plaintiffs to respond by April 30th

Judge Breyer has ordered plaintiffs to respond to Uber's motions by April 30th. Uber will then have a chance to reply by May 14th. Following these responses, a hearing on the motions will be scheduled at a later date.

Uber's troubled past

The rideshare sexual assault lawsuits center around Uber's alleged failure to adequately screen drivers and implement safety measures, despite a documented history of sexual assault complaints. Reports commissioned by Uber itself revealed thousands of sexual assault allegations against drivers between 2017 and 2020.

Facing mounting pressure, Uber has implemented several new safety features in April 2024. These include:

  • RideCheck: Monitors trips for deviations and unexpected stops, prompting passengers to verify everything is alright.

  • PIN Verification: Provides a four-digit code to confirm driver identity matches the app.

  • Audio Recording: Allows passengers to record trips (stored securely and only accessible to Uber upon safety reports).

  • Share My Trip: Enables real-time location and trip details to be shared with friends or family.

Lawsuits continue despite new features

Despite these welcome safety improvements, many view them with a critical eye – a belated response to years of inadequate measures that left passengers vulnerable. The Uber sexual assault lawsuits continue to pile up, with a new one filed on April 5th by a Massachusetts passenger who experienced an assault. This latest case adds to the growing number in the Uber assault MDL, which now exceeds 200.

If Uber's motions to dismiss fail, the court is expected to select a small group of representative cases for further development. These bellwether trials will gauge jury response to evidence and potentially influence future settlements across the MDL.

It's important to note that similar rideshare sexual assault lawsuits have been filed against Lyft.

The rideshare sexual assault multidistrict litigation is In Re: Uber Technologies, Passenger Sexual Assault Litigation, MDL No. 3084, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Note: If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you are not alone. Help is available.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is there for you 24/7. Call 1-800-656-4673 to speak with a trained staff member who will listen without judgment and offer support.

Prefer to connect online? RAINN's website (https://www.rainn.org/) offers a confidential live chat option where you can connect with caring advocates who can connect you with resources in your area.

They can help you navigate your next steps, whether it's reporting the assault or finding support services to help you heal.

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