An Uber-Sized Consolidated Lawsuit for Sexual Assault Against Uber Rideshare

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Uber, Lyft & Rideshares

Uber Sexual Abuse Class Action MDL Horowitz Law

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have replaced taxicabs nationwide, and millions of people use these transportation options daily. Over the last decade, Uber has been facing a rapidly growing wave of complaints, public scrutiny, and civil lawsuits involving Uber drivers detaining and sexually assaulting their rideshare passengers. The incidents often follow a similar pattern in which an Uber driver gets a vulnerable passenger in the vehicle and sexually assaults them in the car. These reports average about 5,000 per year, which has led to an unprecedented number of lawsuits.

In 2020, Uber released its second U.S. Safety Report, which revealed 998 sexual assault incidents, including 141 rape reports. Uber received 3,824 reports of sexual assault between 2019 and 2020. Nearly 6,000 sexual assault reports were found in Uber’s first safety report, which details incidents from 2017 to 2018.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits

In October 2023, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) agreed to consolidate all of the pending Uber sexual assault cases in federal courts into a new multi-district litigation (MDL). Similar in some respect to a class-action lawsuit, an MDL is a legal procedure used in federal court to consolidate multiple civil cases that share common factual issues into a single district court. This process streamlines pre-trial proceedings, including discovery and motions, to increase efficiency, reduce court costs, and ensure consistent rulings across similar cases. Every Uber sexual assault lawsuit will have the same elements of what Uber knew about the sexual assault of its clients and what it did to try to keep women safe. The Uber sexual assault MDL has been assigned to a judge in the Northern District of California.

Since the MDL was established, there have been over 200 driver assault lawsuits pending, and this is expected to increase to thousands. All future Uber sexual assault cases filed in federal court will be automatically transferred to California for consolidated proceedings.

Limits on Filing New Uber Driver Sexual Assault Lawsuits Proposed

The recent establishment of multi-district litigation (MDL) has led to a surge in the number of Uber driver assault lawsuits being filed. The ride-sharing giant Uber, embroiled in these lawsuits, has requested a pause in proceedings from Judge Breyer. The request was made while Uber appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit seeking to dismantle the MDL.

Uber asserts that the bundled pretrial proceedings are unjustified, arguing that different state laws apply to individual assault cases committed by third-party drivers. Amid its pending appeal, Uber is urging Judge Breyer to set an early cut-off date for new assault lawsuits in the MDL. Their intention is to encourage lawyers to file pending claims faster to gauge the scope of the MDL.

The plaintiffs, however, oppose this request, calling it premature and inappropriate so soon after the Court’s initial scheduling order. The court lacks the legal power to compel plaintiffs to file lawsuits against Uber by a particular date, but Uber is adamant that Judge Breyer has the discretion to limit the cases included in the MDL proceedings. From the plaintiff’s perspective, a sudden capping of the MDL now would undermine the centralization’s purpose to efficiently resolve cases sharing common questions of fact.

Settlement Amounts for Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Most mass tort MDLs eventually get resolved in a global settlement deal in which the defendant pays a large sum of money to resolve all pending cases. Individual cases are then ranked into tiers based on various factors such as strength of evidence and severity of injuries. Cases in the highest tiers get bigger settlement payouts than those in the lower tiers.

Lawyers are predicting that the settlement tier values for Uber sexual assault cases could be in the range of $100,000 to $400,00, or more for the most egregious incidents. Cases in the highest tiers will be those involving forcible rape with strong evidence. Lower-tier cases will be those involving lesser degrees of sexual assault. Of course, this is speculation as of now.

The flurry of lawsuits against Uber underlines the urgent need for effective safety measures and integrity in services promising convenience and ease, such as ridesharing. As the figures continue to grow, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and informed about the ongoing legal proceedings.

Horowitz Law has filed sexual assault claims on behalf of clients sexually abused by their Uber or Lyft drivers. An employee of any company is never permitted to have unwanted sexual contact with a customer. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during an Uber or Lyft ride, or if you know someone who has, please get in touch with our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.