Women involved in Uber sexual assault lawsuis deals with lengthy legal delays, ‘I Don’t Have 10 Years’

Lyssa Broomfield

On November 9, 2019, in Downtown Los Angeles, Lyssa Broomfield, who had just recently moved from Los Gatos to begin her studies at fashion school, was embarking on a new phase of independence.

Reflecting on that time, Broomfield said, “First time living on my own, moving out, moving to LA.”

After a day and night of continuous drinking, Broomfield found herself separated from her friends at a nightclub, feeling heavily intoxicated and wanting to return home. She recalled, “That’s when I called an Uber. I opened the backdoor, and he said, ‘No, that’s okay. Just come in the front.’ From then on, it’s a blur. The one thing I remember the most is just being in some random parking lot.”

According to her Uber trip details, she was picked up at 1 a.m. The police report she filed the following day revealed she was in the Uber for five and a half hours, until 6:30 a.m., occasionally drifting in and out of consciousness.

Following a rape kit examination, the police asked Broomfield to text the driver inquiring about the events of that night. When she messaged, “I don’t really remember that night,” the driver replied, “Oh, I believe you.”

Despite her desire to press charges, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the driver. Broomfield felt despondent, saying, “In their eyes, it was just ‘he said, she said.’ I felt very hopeless when I heard that.”

Medical evaluations later confirmed that Broomfield had been “violently sexually assaulted,” leading to severe pain and multiple herniated discs requiring several surgeries. Her condition continues to deteriorate.

Broomfield is among approximately 2,000 individuals suing Uber in civil court, accusing the company of failing to safeguard passengers from sexual abuse by its drivers. Despite some media coverage, Broomfield highlights the significant delays in these cases. She was informed by her attorney that it could take nearly a decade from the incident to reach a resolution.

“I need to find a way to survive now. I don’t have 10 years to wait. My body is degenerating every minute, day by day. It’s just getting worse,” Broomfield expressed her urgency.

Rachel Abrams, an attorney representing other alleged Uber sexual assault victims, shared the frustration over the delays, particularly after Uber’s 2022 motion to transfer all non-California cases from state court, causing further postponements. Some cases have since been refiled in federal court, but obstacles persist. Abrams criticized Uber’s tactics, saying, “Uber, every turn, would get another delay. It’s clearly going to be an issue that we have to deal with throughout this litigation with them.”

Uber declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but emphasized its commitment to user safety, highlighting features like an emergency button, “Live Help” from a safety agent, and GPS tracking. The company also noted that assaults on its platform are rare and that it has published safety reports on incidents.

Broomfield hopes her story can raise awareness and ensure the safety of other women using Uber. “Every single time, especially when it’s a woman, when I hear, ‘My Uber’s here!’ I pray to God that woman is safe,” she said.

The trial for some of the initial California cases is set to begin in May 2025.

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