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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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Horvitz & Levy successfully convinced the Court of Appeal that Lyft owes no common-law duty to screen passengers for criminal history that might indicate a propensity for violence.

Plaintiff Abdu Lkader Al Shikha was driving on the Lyft platform when he was suddenly attacked by one of his passengers without any warning or provocation. He sued Lyft, arguing that the passenger had a criminal history and Lyft had a duty to perform criminal background checks on passengers and either prevent them from using the rideshare platform, or inform drivers of their criminal history status. Lyft moved for judgment on the pleadings in the trial court on the basis that Lyft owed no legal duty to conduct background checks on riders. Because there was no legal duty, Al Shikha could not state sufficient facts to constitute a negligence cause of action. The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings. 

Al Shikha appealed and Horvitz & Levy represented Lyft on appeal. The California Court of Appeal affirmed in a published opinion. It held that Al Shikha had not established the existence of a legal duty to conduct criminal background checks on all passengers seeking to use the Lyft platform, and that it would be against public policy to recognize one. Conducting criminal background checks on all passengers would be highly burdensome on companies such as Lyft because it would not only need to obtain criminal history, but also analyze whether such history reflects a propensity toward random violence. Such a process would raise significant public policy problems regarding consumer privacy, would risk disproportionate exclusion of certain racial groups, and create unreasonable follow-on liability if it is alleged that a defendant failed to conduct a sufficiently searching inquiry or misjudged a passenger’s record.