Uber Sexual Assault Multidistrict Litigation Status Update

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Uber, Uber Sexual Assault

Over the past decade, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have found themselves facing serious allegations of misconduct. Among the most alarming claims are thousands of reports sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence on the Uber platform. There are, in fact, so many claims that law firms across the United States are pushing for the cases to be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL). 

Kherkher Garcia, LLP is one of the most tenacious law firms pursuing justice for victims of Uber sexual assault and misconduct claims. We are representing numerous clients in their journey for justice, including many whose cases could be part of an MDL. Victims of sexual assault while using the Uber platform should contact us to learn more about their rights and options to participate in the pursuit of justice.  

Overview of Uber Sexual Assault Claims

Uber is one of the most widely recognized ride-sharing platforms. In recent years, the company has faced significant controversy and legal challenges over allegations of sexual assault involving its drivers and passengers. These claims have highlighted concerns about passenger safety and the company’s response to such incidents. 

Allegations and Lawsuits

Since its inception, Uber has been embroiled in numerous lawsuits and allegations of sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct involving its drivers and riders. Reports have emerged from various cities and countries, detailing instances where passengers have accused Uber drivers of inappropriate sexual behavior, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Many of these victims have taken legal action.

Reports and Allegations

In Uber’s 2019-2020 US Safety Report, the company reports the following statistics related to sexual assault among Uber drivers and riders:

  • 137 reports of non-consensual kissing of a body part
  • 82 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • 528 reports of non-consensual touching of a body part
  • 110 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • 141 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration

This most recent report suggests 3,824 reports of sexual assault among Uber users from 2019-2020. There were 5,981 reports from 2017-2018. Even a 38% decrease in rates is still too many victims suffering these heinous crimes. 

It is important to note that these incidents represent only those reported to Uber using their platform or reporting methods. It does not account for every instance of sexual misconduct involving the Uber platform. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), studies show that sexual assaults remain one of the most underreported crimes. According to these studies almost 70% of sexual assaults go unreported. Of those that are reported, 975 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will never spend time in jail or prison for their crimes. 

Lawsuits Filed against Uber

Over the past several years, Uber has faced numerous lawsuits alleging sexual assault, kidnapping, harassment, and other forms of criminal misconduct. In 2022, USA Today reported as many as 700 lawsuits pending or under active investigation. Many lawsuits have been settled privately between Uber and the victims. Many others continue to be investigated. Furthermore, many lawsuits are being considered for consolidation into multidistrict litigation (MDL), which we will discuss in more detail below. 

Statistics on sexual assault reports coupled with the number of lawsuits filed highlights just how serious of a problem sexual misconduct really is in the ridesharing industry. 

Criticism of Uber’s Response

Uber has also been criticized for its handling of reports of sexual assault. Uber alone decides whether a driver or rider maintains access to the Uber Platform.  In some cases, Uber has been accused of not taking reports of sexual assault seriously, and of not providing adequate support to victims. In other cases, Uber has been accused of retaliating against victims who have reported sexual assault. 

Support Staff located at Uber’s facilities around the world review claims of sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault and decide whether a driver should maintain access to the Uber Platform.  Often, Uber has “red flag” data concerning a driver but allows the driver to maintain access to the Uber Platform and puts riders at risk when pairing them with a driver. 

Company Response

Uber’s response to sexual assault claims has been criticized for being inadequate and insensitive. Victims have reported feeling unsupported and unheard by the company’s customer service when they tried to report incidents. This lack of responsiveness has added to the negative perception of Uber’s commitment to passenger safety.

Uber has faced multiple legal battles as a result of these claims. Lawsuits have been filed against the company by both victims and advocacy groups, accusing Uber of negligence, inadequate driver screening, and failing to ensure passenger safety. Uber has settled some of these cases out of court, while others have gone to trial.

Currently, there are numerous sexual assault lawsuits pending, which is why the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is considering consolidating these cases into multidistrict litigation (MDL).

What is Multidistrict Litigation?

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a legal procedure in the United States that allows federal judges to consolidate multiple civil lawsuits that involve common questions of fact. This is done to promote judicial efficiency and fairness, and to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings.

The MDL statute is 28 U.S.C. § 1407, which was enacted in 1968. The statute gives the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) the authority to transfer civil actions to a single district court for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. The JPML is a seven-member panel of federal judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States.

How are MDLs Formed?

To qualify for MDL treatment, the cases must meet certain criteria:

  1. First, the cases must involve common questions of fact. This means that the cases must raise the same legal issues, such as whether a product is defective or whether a company engaged in wrongful conduct. 
  2. Second, the cases must be pending in different districts. 
  3. Third, the transfer must be in the interest of justice.

Once the JPML grants an MDL transfer, the cases are transferred to a single district court for pretrial proceedings. The transferee court appoints a coordinating judge to oversee the proceedings. The coordinating judge is responsible for managing the discovery process, setting deadlines, and coordinating the parties’ efforts to reach a settlement.

If the cases do not reach settlement, they will be returned to the original district courts for trial. However, the coordinating judge may issue a pretrial order that will apply to all of the cases, even if they are not tried in the same district.

Uber Sexual Assault Cases and MDL Status

Law firms representing clients in Uber sexual assault cases have petitioned the JPML to consolidate these claims against Uber into MDL No 3084, In Re: Uber Technologies, Inc. Passenger Sexual Assault Litigation. There is a hearing in Lexington, Kentucky on September 28, 2023 where the JPML will hear the petition and arguments for why it should be consolidated. 

It is expected that the JPML will decide where consolidation into an MDL is appropriate within two weeks of the September 28, 2023 hearing.  If the cases are consolidated into an MDL, the JPML will pick a federal judge to preside over MDL No. 3084. 

Kherkher Garcia Fighting for Uber Sexual Assault Victims

Kherkher Garcia is one of the law firms appearing at this hearing in Lexington, Kentucky on September 28, 2023. Our Uber sexual assault lawyers have a unique perspective on sexual assault cases related to ridesharing and other industries. With decades of experience representing sexual assault victims, we are poised to fight for the rights and best interests of all victims of Uber. 

Kherkher Garcia remains a leader in sexual assault victim representation. We are ahead of the curve on Discovery, and have unique documents and perspectives to present to the JPML. We believe that consolidating these cases into MDL could benefit victims and ease the process as we pursue justice. 

How an MDL Can Help Victims Obtain Justice and Compensation

MDL is a valuable tool for managing complex litigation. It can help to reduce the burden on the courts, promote judicial efficiency, and achieve a fair and just resolution for the parties involved. Consolidating cases into MDL is also an effective way to address the complexities that apply to numerous cases without hearing and ruling on each case individually. 

For decades, MDLs have been used to obtain justice and set precedent for cases involving complex injuries and legal matters. Here are some examples of cases that have been consolidated under MDL:

Dalkon Shield MDL

The Dalkon Shield MDL, which involved lawsuits against A.H. Robins Company for injuries caused by the Dalkon Shield, a contraceptive device.

Agent Orange MDL

The Agent Orange MDL, which involved lawsuits against Dow Chemical Company and other manufacturers of Agent Orange, a herbicide used during the Vietnam War.

Vioxx MDL

The Vioxx MDL, which involved lawsuits against Merck & Co. for injuries caused by Vioxx, a pain medication.

Transvaginal Mesh MDL

This MDL involved lawsuits against multiple manufacturers of transvaginal mesh, a medical device used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The mesh was found to be defective and to have caused serious injuries to women, including pain, infection, and organ perforation. 

Opioid MDL

This MDL is ongoing and involves lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid epidemic. The companies are accused of misleading doctors and patients about the addictiveness of opioids, and of contributing to the widespread misuse of these drugs. 

Talcum Powder MDL

As of March 2023, there were over 35,000 cases pending in this MDL. The cases involve women who allege that they developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for their injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The talcum powder MDL is one of the largest and most complex MDLs in history. 

MDL is a complex legal procedure, but it can be a valuable tool for managing complex litigation. If you are involved in a lawsuit that may qualify for MDL treatment, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

Learn More about Uber Sexual Assault Claims

Sexual assault is a traumatic event that causes physical and emotional injuries. These injuries have a profound impact on victims and their families. At Kherkher Garcia, we want victims to know that help is available. Our team is here to provide legal representation and support to help victims obtain the justice and compensation that they deserve.  

Kherkher Garcia represents clients in matters involving:

Learn more about Uber sexual assault claims and your legal rights on our blog:

Image by Freepik

Schedule a free Consultation

Bret Stanley

Bret Stanley

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Bret Stanley. Bret is a practicing injury lawyer with more than 12 years experience. He has won Millions in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Bret’s practice areas have focused on helping clients with rideshare sexual assault, product liability, pharmaceutical device and drug claims, mass tort litigation, catastrophic personal injury litigation, complex insurance litigation, and Jones Act / Maritime Injury litigation.

Learn moreRead more articles