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Lyft has no duty to conduct criminal checks on passengers: Appeals court


A trial judge correctly determined that ride-share company Lyft Inc. has no legal duty to conduct criminal background checks on passengers, the decision stemming from an incident in which a driver was stabbed by a rider with a criminal record, the California Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

Lyft driver Abdu Lkader Al Shikha, who was injured after being stabbed in the hand and legs during an unprovoked attack by a passenger in February 2020, sued the ride-share company for negligence for failing to conduct criminal checks on passengers.

In addition to negligence, Mr. Al Shikha also alleged that Lyft failed to provide workers compensation benefits for his injuries and failed to provide a safe place of employment. He also sued the attacker for battery.

A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit against Lyft in May 2022.

The appeals court, in affirming that decision, said requiring Lyft to conduct criminal background checks on all rideshare passengers would be overly burdensome and a “socially questionable obligation.”

“A duty to conduct criminal background checks on all rideshare passengers would raise similar concerns about overbreadth, the disproportionate exclusion of certain racial groups, and the masking of discriminatory intent,” the court wrote.  

The appeals court also upheld the trial judge’s decision dismissing the claim over failure to pay workers comp benefits, saying the trial court correctly found that Lyft had successfully rebutted the presumption of compensability.