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Disabled Woman Sues Lyft, Alleges She Was Sexually Assaulted In La Brea

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) – A 23-year-old disabled woman filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court Thursday against rideshare company Lyft, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by her driver after getting a ride home from the grocery store.

Disabled Woman Sues Lyft, Alleges She Was Sexually Assaulted In La Brea
A disabled woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by her Lyft driver in the La Brea neighborhood of Los Angeles speaks at a news conference on Dec. 5, 2019. (CBS2)

The woman, identified as Cheyenne, announced the lawsuit in a news conference in Beverly Hills with her attorney.

"This lawsuit was filed against Lyft because of their failure to prioritize passenger safety...their ongoing failure to prioritize passenger safety has resulted in the sexual assault of my 23-year-old client Cheyenne, who is a disabled woman," her attorney Mike Bomberger told reporters.

In the news conference, Cheyenne said she was sexually assaulted after being taken home from a Ralph's grocery store in La Brea. She said the driver offered to help her get her bags into her home.

The attack occurred in her patio.

"When he dropped off the last bag, he approached me…grabbed my face and tried to kiss me," she said. "I pushed him away and then he kept coming. He grabbed my wrists and tried to force himself on me."

Cheyenne said she "kneed him in the stomach" and screamed, which prompted him to flee. She then called 911. She also contacted Lyft, but to this point is still unsure if the driver was ever caught or prosecuted.

Due to her disability, Cheyenne cannot get a driver's license, Bomberger said, and depends on ride-sharing to get to and from work.

"Cheyenne has a disability, when she was a child she had a brain aneurism and that has resulted in 18 surgeries to her brain since that time," Bomberger explained. "She also lost vision in one eye and walks with a limp."

It's unclear exactly when the attack occurred.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a class-action lawsuit brought by 19 women Wednesday, also against Lyft, who allege they were sexually assaulted by its drivers. The 19 women filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court, near Lyft's corporate headquarters. Bomberger is also representing the plaintiffs in that case.

"The bottom line is that Lyft does not take safety of their passengers seriously, and never has," Bomberger said Wednesday. "Lyft's message to their drivers is its safety and accountability do not exist and it's not important."

"I fought for my life and he slammed my wrists in his car door as he dragged me with the vehicle," said one of the plaintiffs in a news conference Wednesday in San Francisco.

"He had his hand down my pants and he was groping and raping me," another plaintiff said.

In response to Wednesday's lawsuit, Lyft provided CBS News the following statement:

"We've launched more than 15 new safety features, including daily continuous criminal background monitoring of all of our drivers and in-app emergency assistance to make reporting easier for riders."

Bomberger claims many of the accused drivers are still working for the company.

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