The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 02, 2021 1:00 am

Scooter provider targeted in suit

Local man claims 'severe' injuries in accident in 2019

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A local man has filed a lawsuit against VeoRide Inc., the company that provides electric scooters downtown, saying the scooters are not properly maintained and that's the reason for injuries he received two years ago. 

Dustin Marshall Warner, 41, rented a VeoRide scooter Oct. 3, 2019, when the entire handlebar mechanism became detached during operation, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 24. 

The civil suit seeks damages for Warner's “permanent and severe” injuries and the “hospital, diagnostic, surgical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical and other expenses” he faces.  

His attorney, Chad Delventhal, said more information on Warner's injuries will be released. Delventhal is looking for information from VeoRide and the city on how many pedestrians have been injured by electric scooters. 

“The big issue is they are scattered all over the city. You've got people who are vandalizing them, and VeoRide is not maintaining these things the way they should,” Delventhal said. “These things are pretty dangerous. Sounds like there's quite a bit of litigation going on in the United States, although not necessarily against VeoRide.”

Warner suffered “permanent physical disability, permanent scarring, lost wages from his employment and loss of earning capacity and/or inability to work in the future,” the suit says. 

The Journal Gazette sent an email inquiry to the Chicago company Friday but did not immediately receive a response. 

The e-scooters were introduced downtown in September 2019 as part of a pilot period that was extended after it proved popular with riders. In May, Paul Spoelhof, the city's planning and policy director, reported 110,000 unique riders, 200,000 different rides and 350,000 miles ridden last year. 

At that time, Fort Wayne Police Department Officer Ben Messick said his department was getting complaints when he spoke in favor of a bill before the City Council that proposed fines. The proposed fines included riders who fail to yield to pedestrians or vehicles or warn pedestrians when they're about to be passed on sidewalks, among other things. The ordinance failed at the City Council.

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