Nine-plaintiffs accuse operators of “gross negligence.”
By Sam Catanzaro
A Los Angeles-based attorney has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of nine-plaintiffs against e-scooter operators. The case contends that e-scooter companies, including Bird and Lime, are guilty of “gross negligence” for inaction in addressing safety issues associated with the devices. The suit also blames the companies for causing “civil unrest” citing individuals who have tossed scooters in the Venice Canals and buried devices in the sand. This is the first class-action suit filed against either Bird or Lime.
“While acting under the guise of the commendable goals of furthering personal freedom and mobility and protecting the environment, the defendants, and each of them, are endangering the health, safety and welfare of riders, pedestrians and the general public,” the suit states, alleging the e-scooter companies were aware riders were injuring pedestrians and by neglecting to stop the accidents from occurring, assisted scooter riders as they committed these “assaults.” Also named in the suit are manufactures Segway and Xiaomi.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior County Court last Friday, was submitted just a day before a woman was struck by a car while riding an e-scooter on Washington Boulevard in Santa Monica. The plaintiffs include both pedestrians who have been injured by scooter riders and riders hurt while operating faulty devices.
“I was struck from behind by a young man in a Bird scooter. My right arm was broken and my right bicep was severed for my lower arm struck,” said plaintiff David Petersen at a news conference Monday. Petersen had to undergo surgery following the incident to treat his torn bicep tendon.
Another plaintiff, Tina Ogata, was seriously injured by stationary scooters that were on the sidewalk.
“I did not see that there were two or three Lime scooters lying on the ground. I tripped over them, I broke my wrists,” Ogata said.
Also included in the suit is a boy who was hit by a rider illegally operating a scooter on the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path and a woman with a degenerative disease and arthritis in her knees who on multiple occasions has been unable to park in handicap spots because of Bird and Lime scooters blocking the spaces.
Los Angeles-based attorney Costell & Cornelius and McGee, Lerer & Associates filed the suit, say that in addition to seeking compensation for medical bills, plaintiffs also think that insurance should be required for scooter riders and devices should include visible license plates.
Both Bird and Lime said in separate statements that safety remains the companies’ top priority and pointed out that their devices make streets safer for pedestrians by reducing the number of cars on the road.
“Class action attorneys with a real interest in improving transportation safety should be focused on reducing the 40,000 deaths caused by cars every year in the U.S,” Bird said. “Bird, safety is our very top priority, and it drives our mission to get cars off the road to make cities safer and more livable.”
“Safety has always been at the very core of everything we do at Lime — as is our mission of reducing cars from city streets and making them safer and greener for pedestrians, bike and scooter riders alike,” reads a statement from Lime.8