DALLAS - The family of a 24-year-old Dallas man who was killed on a Lime scooter-a-year-and-a-half ago has filed a lawsuit alleging that the scooter was defective and broke apart.
But it turns out they, and everyone else who rides a Lime scooter, is not entitled to a day in court even if a scooter may be the cause of a death.
Carla Kesler believes her 24-year-old son died because the scooter he was riding home from work in September 2018 was defective.
Jacoby Stoneking was riding a scooter on Munger Avenue in Dallas on his way home from work when he crashed the scooter. Responding Dallas police officers found Stoneking unresponsive and the scooter split in half against a curb. He died the next day of traumatic brain injury.
A lawsuit against lime alleges the scooter broke and that's what caused Stoneking to fall. Jacoby's family filed the lawsuit last year.
“We alleged the scooter was defective as designed and manufactured,” said attorney Michael Ace.
Lime denied that Stoneking's scooter was defective and a jury will never see this case because of the fine print on the Lime app.
“Most scooter riders quickly tap the ‘I agree’ button. The fine print is found under user agreement. But it would take the average person 59 minutes to read the entire user agreement, which would likely defeat the purpose of riding a scooter in the first place,” Ace said.
Hidden within the 18,000 word user agreement is a clause that says instead of a trial any lawsuits brought against the company must instead go before an arbiter in the state of California.
Ace says online agreements like this are becoming more common.
“Business interests really would rather take cases out of the hands of juries; they get to keep that confidential. No right to appeal,” Ace said.
Lime said in an email, "Our user agreement uses the same standard language as other providers across the industry."
Kesler hopes when the city of Dallas decides on regulations for scooters they will require and enforce a helmet law.
"A helmet would have saved his life,” Kesler said.
It's an issue council members discussed at their last committee meeting.
Lime said it encourages users to always wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter, and the company is committed to giving away over 250,000 free helmets around the world.
“Protect yourself, you don't know when something faulty is going to happen,” Kesler said.
Kesler's case remains in arbitration in California.