Uber seeks dismissal of lawsuit brought against it by Indian rape victim
Uber has asked the courts to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by an Indian woman who said in 2014 that she was raped by one of the company's drivers.
Reuters reports that the crux of the argument centers on Uber's belief that it can't be held liable for drivers' actions, especially when its service in India is managed by an entity based in the Netherlands, not the American business named in the lawsuit.
Here's how Uber made that point in the filing seeking this lawsuit's dismissal:
While Plaintiff undoubtedly can state a claim against her alleged assailant, she cannot state a claim against Uber US, which is the wrong party. Nor does California law govern a dispute involving an alleged wrong committed by one Indian citizen against another Indian citizen, in India.Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick previously worked to shift blame for the rape, which was perpetrated by a driver who had already served 11 months in prison for raping a 22-year-old woman, on New Delhi's standard for background checks.
The company then introduced a "panic button" that allows Indian customers to tell a dedicated Uber team that something has gone wrong. It also added "safety net" features that allow people to share information about their rides with other people.
Yet seeking the dismissal of this lawsuit makes it clear that Uber doesn't want to take responsibility for its drivers' actions. And as the Next Web notes, the company makes that quite clear by including this passage in its terms of service agreement:
Uber does not guarantee the suitability, safety or ability of third party providers. It is solely your responsibility to determine if a third party provider will meet your needs and expectations. Uber will not participate in disputes between you and a third party provider. By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third party providers arranged or scheduled using the services is at your own risk and judgement.So according to Uber's terms of service, the "this-happened-in-India-so-it's-not-our-problem" argument is a bit of a red herring. In truth, it doesn't matter where someone's assaulted by an Uber driver, or what entity those operations are managed under, or who has jurisdiction over the lawsuit. Uber doesn't think it should ever be considered responsible for its not-quite-employees.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]