Lyft is one of the major ride-sharing companies in existence. However, they have experienced a number of significant lawsuits in recent years. Below are 10 of the biggest Lyft lawsuits in the company’s history.
10. Applebaum v. Lyft, Inc. ($74,000)
This is actually one of the more unique lawsuits that was ever brought against the company. It took place within the state of New York and it alleged that Lyft knowingly charged its customers full price for all tolls charged on their routes, even though they were receiving a discounted price for those charges.
In short, the lawsuit claimed that the company actually received a discount because of its status as a rideshare company, yet it was not passing that discount on to individual clients. This type of action is against the law, as rideshare companies are required to give their clients the same discounted rate for toll charges that they received themselves. In other words, they are not allowed to receive a profit from these types of charges, yet that is precisely what the company was attempting to do.
9. Osvatics v. Lyft, Inc ($75,000)
This particular lawsuit alleged that Lyft discriminated against people that were seeking employment with the company, even if their perceived disability didn’t have anything to do with an issue that could potentially prevent them from safely driving clients.
This particular lawsuit also alleged that the company knowingly claimed to offer employment to all people that could safely drive for them, yet refused to extend independent contractor status to anyone who didn’t meet their internal obligations. Apparently, these obligations were never released to the public. As a result, a number of people were rejected from potential employment even though there was no valid reason made known for doing so.
8. Garcia v. Lyft, Inc. ($95,000)
This is yet another lawsuit that involved an individual who drove for Lyft and then eventually sued the company for unfair treatment of its drivers. There were many points involved in this lawsuit, not the least of which involved the accusation that the company misrepresented its terms of service for individuals who chose to drive for the company. Furthermore, the lawsuit claimed that drivers were actually misclassified as independent contractors when they should in fact have been classified as standard employees.
This is certainly not the first time that a lawsuit of this nature has been brought against the company. As a matter of fact, it is one of a handful of lawsuits of a similar nature. To this day, the company refuses to make dramatic changes to its employee classification, or even to make significant changes to the types of benefits that could potentially be offered to its drivers. Despite the fact that it has gone to court on a number of occasions and been ordered to pay thousands, or in some cases, millions of dollars in damages, it remains largely unchanged in the way it operates.
7. Rideshare Displays v. Lyft, Inc. ($5.9 million)
This particular case took place in the state of Delaware. It involved a class-action lawsuit that accused a list of patent infringements. More specifically, it was with regard to the types of decals that the company was placing on cars that were in their service. The lawsuit alleged that another company had already secured a patent on these types of decals. According to them, Lyft was copying them without their permission.
Of all the lawsuits that the company has faced in recent years, this is probably one that no one really saw coming. While there have been allegations of safety issues, price fixing and sexual assault, something like this doesn’t typically come up with companies of this nature. Nevertheless, this was a lawsuit that was brought against the company in 2021 for the aforementioned amount of $5.9 million.
While a lot of people have a tendency to dismiss this particular lawsuit because it doesn’t involve sexual harassment or a failure to pay employees a fair wage, there is something much darker here that needs to be addressed. It involves the practice of infringing on a patent or copyright created by another company. That in turn implies that the company in question (Lyft) has created a culture of choosing to do whatever it wants that benefits them in the moment. Furthermore, allegations were made that the company did this without regard for those affected by their actions.
This so-called company culture has actually been brought up in other lawsuits, as many people believe that it speaks to something much more widespread within the company.
6. State of California v. Lyft, Inc. ($6.25 million)
According to Reuters, Lyft was accused of deliberately falsifying reports associated with developing its IPO in order to start being publicly traded on the stock market. At the time, they were in a neck-and-neck race with competitor Uber. Apparently, they were trying to appear more socially responsible then their competitors and were afraid that divulging certain information related to safety issues within the company would be problematic.
The end result was their failure to disclose a number of accusations, including safety issues related directly to the operation of vehicles, multiple claims of sexual assault and other claims that they had wronged their employees by deliberately keeping them from substantial financial success.
Currently, this is a lawsuit that is still tied up in litigation. In reality, it’s likely that this will remain true for a number of years. If successful, it will be one of the largest lawsuits of its type in history. While it is unlikely that individuals involved will actually see every penny of the $6.25 million the company is being sued for, it still represents a significant turn, as this is the first lawsuit that has been so massively encompassing. As previously mentioned, it’s also the first one to attempt to retrieve so much money in damages from this company or any other similar to it.
5. State of California v. Uber Technologies and Lyft, Inc. ($8.4 million)
In this class action lawsuit, it was alleged that both Uber and Lyft engaged in what amounted to price-fixing. The reason that this lawsuit was brought against the two companies is because drivers believed that both of them had deliberately fixed prices so that the company was getting a great deal of money from each individual client, all while the drivers were being paid the same rate they had been paid for a number of years.
The drivers were suing both companies because they felt their pay was unfair. Unfortunately, all other attempts to settle concerns about pay had been met with resistance by both companies, essentially leaving the drivers with no other recourse but to take the matter to court. In the lawsuit, drivers were simply asking to be paid a fair wage for the work they were doing. In addition, they were also asking for additional benefits that were reported by many other individuals who worked for similar companies.
The lawsuit also claimed that the company refused to provide basic employee benefits for drivers, yet they refused to reclassify them accordingly. As a result, the drivers were listed as independent contractors, effectively absolving the companies from giving them any type of health benefits or vacation time commonly available to regular employees. However, the company also made it a point to deny them the ability to purchase independent insurance or set their own hours, things that are common for independent contractors.
4. Doe v. Lyft, Inc. ($12.25 million)
In this lawsuit which was brought up in the state of Illinois, the plaintiff alleged that the company had repeatedly engaged in questionable operations involving sexual harassment. The thing that makes this case particularly interesting was that the individual in question was not an employee of the company. Instead, she was a client who had reportedly experienced sexual harassment on a number of occasions.
She was reportedly so traumatized by the events in question that she entered the accusations into the court system under the name Jane Doe, preferring not to use her legal name. Apparently, she feared what types of repercussions she might experience if individuals learned of her actual identity when the case went to court.
In some cases, drivers have been accused of sexual assault. As a result, her case marks something of a landmark event here, as she was the first one to break through that barrier when it came to accusing a number of different drivers of sexual harassment.
According to statements made by Doe, she had made several attempts to go through the company in order to resolve these issues. She had reportedly been turned away at every instance, eventually leaving her no other recourse than to file a lawsuit against the company as well as the individual drivers involved.
3. Turrieta v. Lyft, Inc. ($15 million)
This lawsuit was similar to the one listed above. It involved an employee who drove for the company and eventually sued them, claiming that they did not classify their drivers properly in a deliberate attempt to prevent them from gaining benefits afforded to most employees.
The lawsuit went on to allege that the company engaged in this action willingly, with the intention of conserving as much money as possible for themselves. At the same time, the lawsuit also alleged that the company was denying their drivers any of the benefits that are typically considered common with regard to virtually any agreement to enter into employment.
It’s worth noting that the company considers those who drive for them independent contractors. That legally absolves them of the need to provide health insurance or even guarantee a minimum number of hours per week that their drivers can work. However, this status is supposed to afford the drivers more freedom by allowing them to set their own schedules and essentially act as if they are self-employed. However, the company was apparently trying to put restrictions on individuals who didn’t drive a certain number of clients every week. Therefore, a lawsuit was brought against them.
2. Wright v. Lyft, Inc. ($25 million)
In this lawsuit, the company was accused of sending mass text messages to people within a particular geographic location, offering them free rides and then refusing to provide those rides to the individuals who responded. In some cases, the rides offered were worth $25 but in other cases, the company offered rides that were worth more than $130. According to court records, they then refused to provide these rides free of charge in the amounts offered, in almost every case.
Not only was this a landmark case against the company, it was also a case worth several million dollars. Furthermore, it marked one of the first cases that was ever brought against the company. Apparently, their practices for texting individuals in a geographic region to offer these types of free rides was something that they started doing shortly after beginning operations. Despite that fact, they went for months and months without honoring hardly any of the offers that they had made, essentially trying to force individuals who wanted to claim the rides to pay for something that had initially been offered to them free of charge.
1. Cotter v. Lyft. Inc. ($27 million)
This is another case that involved a driver who decided to sue the company. While drivers were supposed to be able to accept or decline rides in their area on an app, the lawsuit claims they were not treated as independent contractors because the company would track the amount of rides they accepted in a given month.
Furthermore, the lawsuit went on to claim that any driver who didn’t accept the predetermined number of rides could be banned from the app, effectively preventing them from accepting any rides whatsoever. This could happen without any warning and for no apparent reason. The lawsuit accused the company of wrongdoing, stating that it was unfair and even unlawful for them to engage in such practices.
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