A 19-year-old Houston woman has filed a lawsuit against the rideshare service Lyft.
The lawsuit was filed in Harris County civil court and accuses a driver of assaulting the woman during an Oct. 3 ride.
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee represents the woman and said the ride was actually booked by her father who wanted to make sure his daughter was safe going home from work.
“Instead of taking her home, the driver took a detour, stopped the car, jumped in the back seat with her, and assaulted her,” said Buzbee.
Court documents further accuse the driver, listed as John Doe, as “touching the Plaintiff and made unwanted and repeated sexual advances and touched her body.” Buzbee said the woman was able to fight off the driver, who then took her home.
Buzbee said the family filed a report with both Houston police and Lyft. The lawsuit includes what Buzbee said is the response the family received from Lyft.
The email from Lyft Support said the company was “sorry to hear about this driver’s behavior,” and “this sort of behavior is something we absolutely do not tolerate.” Without being specific, the response contained in the lawsuit further reads “accurate actions were taken against this driver’s behavior,” and “Rest assure you I have unpair(sic) any future ride with this driver again.”
“I am sure it was some sort of form response they sent, but it was incredibly insensitive in light of what happened,” said Buzbee.
Houston police confirmed they did receive a complaint on Oct. 3 about an assault by a rideshare driver. HPD officials said there is an ongoing investigation into the incident, but because the accusations are sexual in nature, they could not provide further details.
“We expect to figure out why this happened and hopefully keep it from happening again,” said Buzbee.
Without commenting on this specific case, Chau Nguyen with the Houston Area Women’s Center said accusations like these are why riders need to consider taking extra precautions when using any rideshare service.
“Is your GPS on, are you sharing that ride, do you have an escape plan. If something doesn’t feel right, maybe it’s time to just get out of the car,” said Nguyen.
KPRC 2 did reach out to Lyft but we have not yet received a response.