USA: Lyft fights to avoid class action lawsuit over alleged disability discrimination of users

Author: Samantha Maldonado, Politico, Published on: 9 May 2019

"Lyft fights to avoid Americans with Disabilities Act in federal court", 2 May 2019

Lyft argues it should not be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and is fighting a federal class action lawsuit filed in Westchester County on the grounds that “it is not in the transportation business.”

It’s an argument long employed by app-based companies like Lyft and Uber, and it’s one that experts in the field continue to scoff at...

Lyft continues to bill itself as a better-behaved version of arch-rival Uber, but this is only its latest effort to avoid government regulations designed to make transportation more accessible to people with disabilities. It’s facing another class-action lawsuit, that one in the Bay Area, claiming the company discriminates against people with disabilities.

In its filings with the SEC in March, ahead of its public offering, Lyft acknowledged its ongoing legal battles against having to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but said it disputes “allegations of wrongdoing and intend to continue to defend ourselves vigorously in these matters.”...

“We think about accessibility broadly and know that many who were previously underserved by transit and taxis are now able to rely on Lyft for convenient and affordable rides,” [Campbell Matthews, a spokesperson for Lyft] said.

That argument doesn’t satisfy Harriet Lowell of White Plains who, with Westchester Disabled on the Move, filed a class action lawsuit in August 2017 against Lyft for the company’s failure to equitably serve disabled people in all areas of the country...

Lyft moved to dismiss Lowell's suit on the grounds that Lyft users agree to solve disputes in arbitration and waive their rights to sue in a class action lawsuit as part of the company’s terms of service. A federal judge dismissed that request...

Uber does not provide ADA service in Westchester, either. Frei-Pearson said he and his colleagues have been reluctant to also sue Uber, because there’s already national litigation against the company and it appears to be taking more steps toward accessibility...

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Related companies: Lyft Uber