US /

Suit: I Was Raped, Impregnated by Lyft Driver

Florida woman Tabatha Means seeks damages, safety reforms at ride-share company
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2024 8:15 AM CST
Suit: I Was Raped, Impregnated by Lyft Driver
A Lyft ride-share car waits at a stoplight in Sacramento, Calif., July 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A Florida woman claims Lyft failed to protect her from a driver who followed her into her home and repeatedly raped her while she was intoxicated, resulting in the birth of a son. Tabatha Means is suing the ride-share company over the alleged attack in April 2019. "Over the years, Lyft has aggressively marketed itself as a safe alternative to driving while intoxicated, and specifically aimed those messages at young women," her lawyer, Rachel Abrams, tells People, claiming "Lyft's driver 'background checks' are a joke." Means says she arranged a ride through the Lyft app before meeting the driver, who told her to sit beside him. The man—who no longer drives for Lyft, per CBS News—allegedly parked outside of Means' residence and began touching her inappropriately.

Means says she rejected his advances and left the car, only to be followed inside. She says she was raped twice while begging the driver to stop. "It will be just fine and over before you know it," he told her, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in US District Court in California. Means, who did not file a police report "out of fear that no one would believe her," later learned she was pregnant, per Law & Crime. She gave birth to a son, who was premature and spent weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit, People reports. She then "obtained an administrative order from Florida's Child Support Services to obtain a DNA sample from the Lyft driver," which confirmed him to be the father, according to the suit alleging general negligence, negligent hiring, breach of contract, and strict product liability.

It seeks more than $75,000 in damages as well as fingerprint-based background checks and a surveillance camera on all Lyft rides. Lyft, which received more than 4,100 reports of sexual assault between 2017 and 2019, denies the allegations, per the Cut. It claims Means booked an initial ride with the driver through the Lyft app, but her ride home was arranged outside of the app. The company adds it "has a dedicated, around-the-clock safety response team" and "a partnership with ADT to aid in emergencies," but no safety or customer service report was ever filed. Abrams counters "this incident absolutely involved a trip booked through the Lyft App, and Lyft's attempt to deflect liability is a perfect example of its bad faith handling of this crisis." "I'm still working to process this trauma," Means says, per Law & Crime. "Every day is a struggle." (More Lyft stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.