Class Action Status Sought Against Lime for Scooter Maintenance and Resulting Injuries

Along with other vehicles, Lime offers dockless electric scooter rentals in over 100 cities across the globe. Should a new customer wish to use a Lime scooter, he or she need only download Lime’s app on their smartphone, provide some personal information, some credit or debit card information, locate an available scooter, unlock it and take off on their ride. The cost is $1 plus 20 cents per minute.

About the Scooters

Lime electric scooters are marketed as simple and accessible micromobility for everybody. Helmets are required during use. The scooters can travel at speeds up to 15 mph, and with a full charge, their range is up to 20 miles. They ride on 8-inch wheels, and they accelerate and brake quickly. In either case, a rider can lose control of the scooter and suffer serious injuries. For example, a female rider in Hollywood suffered a traumatic brain injury and dental injuries when the front wheel locked, and she was thrown from a Lime scooter. Another woman suffered multiple fractures and required surgery after the Lime scooter that she rented suddenly accelerated in San Diego. A man in Cincinnati was thrown off a Lime Scooter that he rented when the brakes locked. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Lime’s User Agreement

Whenever a person wants to become a Lime customer, there’s a user agreement that he or she must electronically sign off on. That user agreement is more than 18,000 words, and it consists of more than 30 pages. It’s the closest thing possible to an adhesion contract, and no rights against Lime are preserved for the user.  A user could be catastrophically injured and in a vegetative state for life as a result of an improperly maintained Lime scooter, but pursuant to the user agreement, Lime’s liability is limited to $100, and injured users are restricted to arbitration because they waive their right to a jury trial. That’s exactly what California attorney Mike Arias of Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP is targeting in a proposed class action lawsuit against Lime. Arias must first receive class certification before he can proceed further in San Francisco District Court. A hearing on that certification is pending. Assuming that the class is certified, the lawsuit could have some very sharp teeth.

The Juicers

Lime dockless scooter can users travel just about anywhere around the city that they’re in, so the scooters are left just about anywhere too. Lime juicers are independent contractors who pick up the abandoned scooters and take them home and charge them. After they’re charged, the scooters are put back onto the streets for other users.  The subject lawsuit alleges that juicers aren’t paid until such time as the scooters are again placed for use by the public. What comes to issue is the allegation that juicers aren’t paid if they notify Lime that a scooter is mechanically defective, and the scooter isn’t put back on the street for use.

The Allegations

The lawsuit alleges that Lime’s scooters are unsafe for the following reasons:

  • They’re unsafe for the purpose for which they’re intended.
  • The scooters have design and manufacturing defects.
  • Inadequate warnings and instructions have been given regarding their use and safety.
  • Lime failed to properly maintain certain scooters that 8users were injured on, including their brakes, throttles, tires and handlebars.

Lime has yet to formally answer or otherwise plead to the lawsuit. In its statement to the public, it commented that “Lime’s highest priority is the safety of our riders and we take seriously any claims or injuries on our products.” The company acknowledges service of the lawsuit against it, and it advised that it was reviewing the allegations made in it. A company spokesman further stated that Lime works tirelessly to ensure our riders are fully secure on our scooters …” Assuming that the case works its way to a trial, a jury will determine what Lime’s highest priority really is.

Lee McFarland

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I write about current events which affect attorneys.