Sexual assault has remained a persistent issue for rideshare services like Uber, despite Uber’s confidence in its background checks and safety features. The multi-billion dollar company is now facing hundreds of personal injury lawsuits alleging that its negligent hiring practices render Uber liable for the damages of sexual assault survivors. In October 2023, dozens of claims were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation, empowering plaintiffs to coordinate their efforts to recover compensation.
At Dolman Law Group, we are invested in ensuring that survivors of sexual assault are respected, supported, and fairly compensated for their damages. Our specialized skill set and experience with these cases can benefit your pursuit of legal action. To schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Uber sexual assault attorneys, reach out to us by calling our office at 727-451-6900 or filling out our online contact form. We will clarify any questions you may have, explain the impact of consolidation, and offer helpful insights on your case.
Sexual Assault Claims Against Uber Progress in New Multidistrict Litigation
In July 2023, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion requesting to have their Uber sexual assault claims consolidated. This request was submitted to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), which evaluates motions for consolidation and then determines if it is appropriate to group the plaintiffs’ claims. After hearing oral arguments in September 2023, the JPML transferred nearly 80 Uber sexual assault lawsuits into the Northern District of California under Judge Charles R. Breyer’s jurisdiction in early October 2023, where they are to be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
In the case of the Uber sexual assault MDL, survivors and their representatives will be able to work together during the pretrial phase to take depositions, request records, and compile evidence to demonstrate Uber’s negligence. Once the pretrial stage is complete, the cases may return to their original jurisdictions to await trial, or the federal judge may use his discretion to continue evaluating them together. Even though the claims are currently being considered as a group, this does not prevent plaintiffs from receiving the level of compensation that corresponds with their individual injuries.
This new development in the Uber sexual assault claims marks a turning point in the history of similar claims brought against the rideshare company, as survivors have thus far been prevented from pursuing sexual assault claims against the rideshare company as a group. If successful, plaintiffs hope to secure not just compensation, but also meaningful changes in Uber’s hiring process like stricter background checks. They have also pushed for additional safety features, such as audio or visual recordings of trips to deter or at least document threats against passengers.
Justifying a Multidistrict Litigation for the Uber Sexual Assault Claims
Multidistrict litigations (MDLs) are considered suitable in situations where multiple plaintiffs have cases that involve common questions of fact and suffered similar types of injuries as a result. For the Uber sexual assault claims, plaintiffs argue that Uber is liable for their damages caused by sexual assault perpetrated by Uber drivers. In their view, the company did not conduct sufficiently comprehensive background checks, take other reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of sexual assault by an Uber driver, or act in a timely manner to remove drivers who had been reported for sexual assault or harassment of passengers.
In motions to dismiss the request for an MDL, Uber said it did not owe passengers a duty of care to prevent sexual assault. However, plaintiffs argued a basis for liability exists because employers are still legally responsible for negligent hiring practices involving independent contractors, like Uber drivers. This was enough to convince the JPML that the claims could have merit and were based on similar complaints. In terms of injuries, plaintiffs reported varying types of non-consensual sexual contact, including groping, kissing, attempted penetration, and rape. Uber’s representatives expressed objections to the consolidation of the cases due to the range of injuries reported, but they all qualify as sexual assault.
Another reason courts may choose to establish an MDL is that in some situations, evaluating cases individually would place a substantial administrative burden on court resources or require an unreasonable amount of time to litigate. If the Uber sexual assault claims were to be processed individually, this would likely be the case. Although the MDL only contains about 80 sexual assault claims against Uber, it is anticipated that this number may increase drastically as the MDL moves forward, given the number of reports of sexual assault that Uber has received.
How Our Uber Sexual Assault Attorneys Can Help You Recover Compensation
There are several unusual aspects of the Uber sexual assault claims that demand the level of expertise our team at Dolman Law Group can provide. To begin with, claims against Uber and other rideshare services like Lyft are complicated by the fact that their drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so Uber’s liability is heavily dependent on the circumstances of the injury. When liability disputes arise, our team is equipped to ascertain the defendant’s legal obligation to our client, gather supporting evidence, and create a compelling case for liability.
Uber rideshare claims are already onerous, but it is also necessary to factor in the impact of sexual assault in these cases. Evidence may be inconclusive or easily destroyed, witnesses are often non-existent, and pursuing legal action can present significant emotional challenges for the survivor. At Dolman Law Group, our sexual assault attorneys and staff have the appropriate disposition and investigative experience to help survivors navigate this process, which is based on our work with survivors of military sexual trauma, children who were sexually abused by clergy, and nursing home sex abuse cases.
Now that the Uber sexual assault claims have been consolidated into an MDL, that adds another layer of difficulty. Our experience with the dynamics of a multidistrict litigation, including representing women in the chemical hair relaxer multidistrict litigation and veterans in the Camp Lejeune claims, will undoubtedly prove valuable. At Dolman Law Group, we value our clients’ trust and stand committed to maximizing survivors’ compensation in an Uber sexual assault multidistrict litigation.
Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Too often, sexual assault survivors are denied justice. For some, that starts with being intimidated out of reporting their experience or doubted by loved ones and authorities. For others, it looks like a negligent company refusing to fairly compensate their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress. At Dolman Law Group, our team of skilled Uber sexual assault attorneys is dedicated to being a part of the solution.
For us, that means being vocal advocates and relentless negotiators. Our Uber sexual assault lawyers have a long track record of results, which not only demonstrates our effectiveness but also our level of commitment. We understand that securing a fair settlement for your Uber sexual assault claim may be the only recognition you receive, so we will go above and beyond to hold the defendant accountable for the negligence that resulted in your trauma.
To access the individualized attention, resources, and legal expertise that your Uber sexual assault lawsuit deserves, call our office at 727-451-6900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our capable Uber and Lyft attorneys. We can offer you the support and guidance you need to successfully maximize your compensation in an Uber sexual assault claim.