The owners of a San Diego company that impounds electric rideshare scooters parked on private property are suing a popular scooter operating company.
Legal action was taken against Lime Scooters after the owners of Scoot Scoop said they got into a violent confrontation with so-called “juicers” working on behalf of Lime. Juicers are people who collect motorized scooters and charge them for anywhere between $3 and $10 per device.
According to the lawsuit, the business owners found two unidentified men allegedly breaking into a storage facility near Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach where Scoot Scoop stores impounded scooters. When the owners confronted the men, a fight broke out.
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“Punches were thrown. The gentleman was a large, big dirty beast and he picked up scooters and was throwing them like King Kong,” said Scoot Scoop owner John Heinkel.
Heinkel, who has been in the repo business for 25 years, started Scoot Scoop with business partner Dan Borelli.
“These guys from Lime have been told to go and get these scooters by any means necessary, whether it’s to break locks, whether it’s to jump a fence, whether it’s to confront somebody, push them to the ground and take the scooter,” said Borelli.
Borelli said he suffered a knee and ankle injury in the fight. Heinkel said he suffered a scratched cornea and still gets headaches from the incident.
The San Diego Police Department said a police report was taken. However, no suspects have been identified.
Lime Scooter responded to the lawsuit with a statement, via email, to NBC 7:
“While we can’t comment on active litigation, this is a disturbing report and such aggressive behavior is never tolerated on the Lime platform. Anyone found violating our community guidelines are immediately removed,” said Lime spokesperson Alex Youn.
Scoot Scoop has impounded more than 12,000 scooters, according to Borelli. The company charges $50 and a $2 storage fee to return the devices.
Lime is critical of the company, and calls the charges a ransom.
A Lime spokesperson said they’ve attempted to engage Scoot Scoop in good faith to resolve the issue, but after unsuccessful attempts Lime was forced to file a lawsuit of its own.
The company will not comment on active litigation.
Meanwhile, there’s also a question of whether “juicers” are actual employees of Lime. The company said they are independent actors and have no control over them. However, the attorney for Scoot Scoop owners disagrees, saying Lime controls their actions and therefore are responsible for their behavior.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for negligence, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.