New York: In a surprise development, a young Indian woman allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi last year "voluntarily" dismissed the lawsuit she had filed in a US court against the web-based taxi company.
In a very brief notice filed yesterday in US District Court, Northern District of California, the woman's lawyers submitted that "Plaintiff Jane Doe hereby voluntarily dismisses the above-captioned action against Defendant Uber Technologies with prejudice. Each side shall bear its own costs, expense expenses, and attorneys' fees." Since the Indian woman was not named in the lawsuit, she was identified as 'Jane Doe'.
There was no further mention in the court papers about why the case was dismissed and under what terms.The woman's attorney Douglas Wigdor could not immediately be reached for a comment.
The woman had filed the lawsuit against Uber in January this year alleging that Uber does not adequately screen its drivers and its "negligence and fraud" lead to her being sexually assaulted and humiliated. She had sought an unspecified amount of damages and compensation for the "physical and monetary" harm and the damage to her "professional and personal reputations" the assault had caused.
Following the filing of the lawsuit, Wigdor had said that Uber's focus on its "bottom line over the safety of its passengers has resulted in what can only be described as modern day electronic hitchhiking". "...We intend to hold Uber responsible for the significant physical and emotional harm it has caused to our client, while simultaneously seeking a court order mandating that Uber initiate certain safety precautions that they appear unwilling to do voluntarily," he had said.
The lawsuit had said that had Uber done a basic background check on its driver Shiv Kumar Yadav, it would have found that Yadav had provided fraudulent documents and had a "known propensity" for "violent and deviant conduct, including numerous arrests for rape and assault. The lawsuit had described in detail the night of December
5 when the woman was allegedly "raped and sodomised" by Yadav.
It said Yadav repeatedly threatened to kill her and warned that if she yelled or tried to escape, "he would insert a metal rod inside her," alluding to the horrific December 2012 gang rape of a student.
In April, Uber had sought dismissal of the lawsuit saying the woman was taking action against the "wrong party" and it does not have any relationship with the driver.
Uber had said that while there is "no question" that the alleged crime is "deplorable", the law requires that all plaintiffs should pursue their claims against the right party or "those legally responsible for the harm". "Plaintiff's counsel has chosen to sue only Uber Technologies, which never had any relationship with Yadav, the alleged assailant," Uber had said in the motion adding that Yadav's only contractual relationship with any Uber entity was with Uber B.V., a Dutch company not party to the suit.
Wigdor had said the company's move to dismiss the lawsuit was an "obvious attempt" to deflect responsibility and the ride-sharing firm will be held accountable for its actions.