CHICAGO – A Chicago man sued Lyft on Thursday, June 14, 2018, alleging he sustained serious injuries after a Lyft driver with an extensive violent, criminal history punched him repeatedly in the face and head.
On December 17, 2016, Joseph Damukaitis was leaving his condo building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Damukaitis observed a Lyft driver turn quickly into the condo parking lot. He asked the driver to reduce his speed in the residential area.
The Lyft driver allegedly responded by exiting his vehicle, striking Damukaitis in the face, and grabbing Damukaitis’ cell phone. The Lyft driver then allegedly fled the scene.
Chicago Police Department officers were called to investigate the alleged assault and battery. They eventually encountered Lyft driver Tommy Rucker, who admitted, “[H]e was employed for the ride share service LYFT and was picking up a passenger at 440 N. Wabash.” (See Chicago Police Department Case Supplement Report HZ555194, p. 5/5)
Officers discovered that Rucker allegedly had several prior run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests, charges, and/or indictments for alleged violent crimes. In fact, at the time of the interview, Rucker was allegedly wearing a Cook County electronic monitoring device on his ankle based on an alleged domestic battery against minors in April 2016. That event was mere months before the alleged attack on Damukaitis.
Furthermore, a private investigator found that Rucker was allegedly arrested for, charged with and/or indicted for simple assault in 2008 (Cook County Case No. 2008-144315001), battery in 2009 (Cook County Case No. 09-122370401), two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon on a person in 2010 (Cook County Case No. 10CR2013801), and domestic battery in 2011 (Cook County Case No. 11DV4086201 and 11DV4086301).
The Lyft driver was arrested and charged for the alleged attack on Damukaitis.
Damukaitis’ face was bruised and bloodied as a result of the alleged attack. He received emergency room treatment following the event, incurring thousands of dollars in medical bills. Damukaitis states the alleged attack caused long-lasting physical injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Damukaitis has since retained Chicago-based law firm LegalRideshare, LLC. LegalRideshare attorneys filed a civil lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois, naming Lyft and the driver as defendants.
LegalRideshare attorney Bryant Greening said Lyft must do more to protect the community. “Rideshare companies talk a big game when it comes to safety. They tout their background checks, their safety policies, and their two-way rating systems,” Greening said. “Yet, again, we see a driver with a violent history slip through the cracks.”
Greening said Damukaitis seeks compensation for costs of past and future medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of normal life.
LegalRideshare, LLC is entirely dedicated to protecting the rights of injured rideshare drivers, passengers and victims.