Editor’s Note: 27 News is not naming the rideshare company involved in the lawsuit to give them time to respond to our questions.
TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka family sued a rideshare company over allegations it failed to protect a 13-year-old girl from being harmed by a registered sex offender in 2019.
Court documents obtained by 27 News from Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC and Dipasquale Moore, LLC show a lawsuit was filed in 2019 against Nicholas Avery, a 34-year-old registered sex offender, for paying for a rideshare to deliver a baby 13 years old. old woman at his house. In January of last year, a civil lawsuit was filed against the rideshare company and its driver in Shawnee County District Court. The law firm representing the Topeka girl’s family accuses the firm of human trafficking.
Court documents said the Topeka girl, referred to as SW for her protection, was picked up by a ride-share driver who drove her from her home in Topeka to Bellevue, Nebraska. The 155-mile journey took three hours. It ended when the driver dropped off the girl at the home of Avery, who did not allege sexual assault for a 36-hour period before she was found by law enforcement.
KETV in Omaha reported in March 2020 that Avery was sentenced by a judge to up to 60 years in prison.
Court documents state that SW suffered from “devastating and extreme physical, mental, . psychological and emotional injuries” due to the actions of the rideshare company and its driver. The family says SW will seek treatment for his physical, mental, psychological and emotional injuries.
Court documents allege that the rideshare company was independently negligent, negligent and/or reckless for several reasons, including not requiring proof of age to create an account, not verifying the age of those who created the account, not having more stringent account verification requirements, not training drivers to verify the age of riders upon pickup, and more. The court documents also said the app used by the rideshare company was “defective and unreasonably dangerous.”
On the amended human trafficking petition filed by law firms representing SW, court documents allege that Avery paid for the rideshare service which resulted in SW being forced into the involuntary servitude, labor and/or sexual gratification of Avery. Both the rideshare service and its driver benefited financially from participating in SW’s transportation of Avery across state lines, resulting in a violation of KSA 60-5003 human trafficking.
SW’s family is seeking a $75,000 settlement from the rideshare company to compensate SW for all of its damages.