A personal injury firm in San Francisco has filed 85 separate lawsuits on behalf of women who say they were sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned, kidnapped, harassed, and/or stalked by Uber drivers, and they say they have over 300 more to go.
The North Beach-based firm Levin Simes Abrams has recently filed the 85 suits, most of them in San Francisco Superior Court, and they say they don't plan to file a class-action suit because the specifics and severity of the cases vary so widely. They are, however, filing to consolidate the cases for procedural purposes, as the SF Business Times reports.
"We have another 320 or so that we have not filed yet and are in various stages of investigation," says attorney Meghan McCormick, speaking to the Business Times.
In a separate case that's been ongoing since 2019, a man dubbed the "Rideshare Rapist" is being tried in criminal court for assaults on at least four women — which he's accused of committing while off-duty as a Lyft driver, but posing as a Lyft driver outside bars and clubs.
According to the new suits against Uber, the victims were variously "kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed," and the suits assert that Uber had known since 2014 that there were sexual predators among its driver pool.
McCormick tells the Business Times that while the circumstances of the 85 claims and counting are all different, there are trends in the behavior reported. She says that many cases involved victims who were "heavily intoxicated and falling asleep in the car." And, she adds, "We've had a lot of scenarios where a woman wakes up with the driver on top of her in the car."
Levin Simes Abrams says that it took on its first client in a case against Uber two years ago, and since then the list has grown to several hundred.
The firm has been advertising on its site seeking out victims of Uber assaults, offering free legal consultations — and a pop-up message displays boxing gloves that were apparently sent to one victim, with the message, "We are rideshare lawyers. We represent hundreds of survivors."
Uber issued a statement to the Business Times saying, "We remain steadfast in our commitment to support victims and help stop sexual violence by collaborating with experts, pioneering safety tech solutions, and setting the standard on transparency and accountability."
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