Leesburg Woman Sues Lyft for Negligence After Alleged Rape and Pregnancy

Leesburg Woman Files Lawsuit Against Lyft for Alleged Rape and Pregnancy

LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Leesburg woman is taking legal action against ride-share company Lyft, alleging that she was raped and impregnated by one of their drivers. The woman’s attorneys announced on Wednesday that they have filed a lawsuit in federal court.

The incident occurred in Tampa in April 2019, when the woman, Tabatha Means, expected a safe and short ride after a night out. However, according to her attorneys, the Lyft driver began making inappropriate comments and the situation quickly escalated into a dark turn.

Means hemorrhaged three times as a result of the assault and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Her newborn son had to spend a month in the neonatal intensive care unit. While Means described her son as the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, his birth is a constant reminder of the trauma she endured. Means, who already has two other children, is seeking justice for herself and her family.

Representing Means, San Francisco attorney Rachael Adams criticized Lyft for its failure to adequately train drivers in sexual harassment prevention and for neglecting to update its apps or install cameras, something required of taxi companies. Adams also argued that Lyft’s background check process, which relies on a name check rather than fingerprints, is insufficient and can’t be verified through state and federal databases.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court, North District of California, San Francisco, seeks damages for negligence, emotional distress, product liability, and breach of contract, among other allegations. The driver in question has not been named in the suit and has not faced criminal charges.

Means, who was afraid to speak up after the attack, has undergone a paternity test conducted by Florida child support services. The results indicate a 99.9999999998 percent certainty that the Lyft driver is the father of her son.

During a video news conference, Means spoke about the difficulty of coming forward with her story but ultimately urged other victims to take action. Meanwhile, Lyft issued a statement emphasizing its commitment to safety and stating that the alleged incident did not occur while using the Lyft app. The company asserted that it has implemented policies and features to protect both drivers and riders.

Lyft claims to use a third-party company for driver screening, including checks on Social Security, national criminal records, court records, and the U.S. Department of Justice sex offender registry. However, Adams, the attorney representing Means, has deemed Lyft’s response “wholly inadequate.”

The lawsuit sheds light on the serious issue of safety within the ride-sharing industry. Means’ case adds to the growing concerns surrounding Lyft’s alleged failures in driver training and background checks. The legal action serves as a reminder of the importance of stringent safety measures and thorough screening procedures to ensure the well-being of passengers.

In this ongoing struggle for justice, Means hopes to not only receive compensation but also bring attention to the need for improved safety standards within the ride-sharing industry.