Uber Faces Lawsuit Over Sexual Assault, False Imprisonment by Driver
Although Uber is promoted as a safe and high-quality car services, a lawsuit filed last week alleges that the ride-sharing company fails to adequately screen their drivers, indicating that a Minnesota woman was sexually assaulted and held against her will after using the service.
The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on February 23, on behalf of a woman identified only as “Jane Doe”.
On the evening of August 5, 2016, the plaintiff indicates that she and a group of friends used Uber to obtain a ride from a driver, identified as Abdel Jaquez. Following the ride, Jacquez provided the group his direct number later in the evening when they would require a second trip. Following this second ride, during which the Plaintiff believed Jaquez was still working as an Uber employee, the driver allegedly propositioned the plaintiff. After refusing his advances, she indicates that Jaquez attempted to grab her in an aggressive manner, and sexually assaulted her.
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The lawsuit alleges that Uber Technologies is negligent in their hiring and screening their drivers, indicating that the incident could have been avoided if the ride-sharing company had performed a proper background check on Jaquez, who was previously arrested for a sexual crime against another woman. According to the complaint, this history of sexual assault would have been revealed by a detailed fingerprint-based background check, which is typically performed on all drivers in the taxi industry.
As a transportation company and common carrier, the lawsuit indicates that Uber is “directly liable for its negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of Jaquez, directly liable for its advertising misrepresentations holding out its transportation service as a safer alternative to taxis for women.”
The lawsuit also points to a number of advertisements, which allegedly misrepresent Uber as a safer alternative transportation method for women, and claims that Uber “placed profits over safety by deliberately lowering the bar for drivers in order to rapidly expand its network of drivers and thus its profits.”
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