The 26-year-old woman who said she was raped by a driver of web-based taxi firm Uber in Delhi has filed a lawsuit against the company in a California court, accusing it of failing to ensure passengers’ safety and seeking unspecified damages.
Describing Uber’s services as the “modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking,” in the lawsuit, the woman, who has not been named, warned in her complaint, “Buyer beware – we all know how those horror movies end.”
The plaintiff from New Delhi has accused Uber of being “focused more on its bottom-line profit than practical and effective safety measures that could save lives,” adding in her complaint that Uber’s statements about safety being a top priority were “false and hollow.”
After the alleged attack against her became known, Uber released a statement saying it “must do better” and that it “had more work to do” for customer safety, and company CEO Travis Kalanick said Uber “will do everything, I repeat everything to help bring this perpetrator [of rape] to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.”
Nevertheless the court document lodged in the court of the Northern District of California alleges that “Uber has shunned and avoided all contact” with the plaintiff.
While Uber did not specifically address the lawsuit in a statement the San Francisco-headquartered company also said it was cooperating fully with the authorities to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice and “Our deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime.”
New Delhi Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav is currently on trial on rape and kidnapping charges, facing allegations that he drove the woman to a secluded area and raped her.
While the Indian market is only second to the U.S. in terms of the number of cities covered by Uber, the company’s services were banned in Delhi last month after the incident.
However Uber is said to have restarted services last week and applied for a radio taxi license, which would allow the company to enter a market estimated to be worth $6-9 billion.
In her complaint, the plaintiff also calls for an overhaul of Uber’s safety practices, including in-car video cameras, 24-hour customer-support centres.
She is said to be represented by U.S. lawyer Douglas Wigdor, who also fought the case of Nafissatou Diallo, the New York City hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, leading to an out-of-court civil suit settlement.
Uber rape case
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