Landmark Order Issued in Lyft Litigation

The application’s defective design promotes distracted driving, subject to product liability claims

On Friday, September 30, 2022, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jamie R. Goodman issued a landmark order affirming that the rideshare company Lyft cannot credibly argue it is insulated from product liability claims of negligence and defective design.

In the order the Court rules, “There is record summary judgment evidence presented that Lyft designed its application and its business model in a manner that promoted distracted driving. Lyft was, as the designer of the application, in a position to control any risk of harm to bystanders/pedestrians such as the plaintiff. Lyft therefore had a legal duty to plaintiff.”

The order paves the way for Plaintiff Theresa Brookes to proceed with her claim that Lyft Corporation should be held liable for the catastrophic injuries she suffered when she was struck in a pedestrian cross walk by a distracted Lyft driver.

The original lawsuit (Case No. 50-2019-CA-004782-XXXX-MB), filed on April 11, 2019, alleged that the Lyft application itself is defective because of the way it habituates and distracts Lyft drivers to constantly monitor the application. DCW Shareholder Jeanmarie Whalen, along with attorney Matthew T. Christ and their appellate counsel from Kreusler-Walsh Vargas & Serafin, P.A., have spent the past three years litigating against Lyft’s army of lawyers, defeating multiple summary judgement motions.

Click here to read this historic order.

Ms. Whalen is the first to successfully argue that the Lyft app is a defectively designed product and is subject to strict liability under products liability law. Ms. Whalen said, “This case represents a pivotal intersection between technology and law. We applaud the Court for it’s well-reasoned decision on the complex issues presented.”

This ruling is significant for multiple reasons. First, it sets a precedent that has national implications for all transportation network applications. The rideshare industry and other transportation networks by design force users to drive distracted. Lyft, and other transportation apps, are now on notice that they are liable and are incentivized to correct the defective design of their apps in pursuit of saving lives.

If you have a case involving Lyft or Uber, please contact Jeanmarie Whalen jw@dcwlaw.com or 561-625-6260. We welcome the opportunity to discuss legal strategy and the scope of this landmark litigation.

Related Pleadings

Complaint

Lyft’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff’s Products Liability Claims

Plaintiff’s Response to Lyft’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff’s Products Liability Claims

Lyft’s Reply in Support of its Motion For Partial Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff’s Products Liability Claims