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Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have billed themselves as a safe alternative to driving while intoxicated. Despite studies showing no overall reduction in drunk driving, getting a ride home while you're tipsy shouldn't be more dangerous.
But a new lawsuit claims that while a Lyft driver got an intoxicated woman to her house safely, he proceeded to sexually assault her once there.
According to the lawsuit, filed under the name Jane Doe, Jason Fenwick drove a drunk Doe home in November last year. Doe had blacked out by the time she reached her home, so Fenwick helped her inside. That's when things took a sinister turn:
Once inside, Mr. Fenwick placed the unconscious Jane Doe in her bed and then proceeded to wander around her home, snooping and checking for other occupants and closing curtains in preparation for his sexual assault and so as not to be seen entirely oblivious to the home surveillance video system recording his every action.
Once comfortable that he would not be observed, Mr. Fenwick proceeded over the next 30 minutes to fondle, paw, kiss, molest and disrobe the unconscious Jane Doe, eventually removing her underwear in order to orally perform sex acts upon her and to penetrate her intimate orifices. Mr. Fenwick took several breaks during the encounter to surveil the interior of the house once again for others present, next took several cell phone pictures of himself with the unconscious Jane Doe, and then resumed his sexual assault.
To add financial insult to serious physical and psychological injury, Fenwick allegedly used the Lyft app on Doe's cell phone to give himself a $20 tip. Fenwick was arrested and charged with assault during the commission of a burglary, oral copulation of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration by a foreign object, burglary, and unlawful use of a concealed recording device, and remains in custody in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
Class Action Liability
About three months before the assault, CNET reported that over 120 Uber and Lyft drivers have sexually assaulted passengers. Doe's lawsuit, aimed at Fenwick, Lyft, and company employees, was filed as a class action, and may be joined by hundreds of victims. You can read the full lawsuit below:
Lyft Assault Class Action by on Scribd