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Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape 277

"Uber has been the subject of controversy all around the globe," notes new submitter yuetteasvy (3999351), who supplies this story from Reuters about one of the reasons for that controversy: An Indian woman who says she was raped by an Uber driver while she was traveling in his cab in December is suing the San Francisco–based online firm in a U.S. federal court in California, claiming it failed to put in place basic safety procedures while running its car service in India. In her lawsuit, filed on Thursday, the New Delhi woman called the app-based service the "modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking." The unidentified plaintiff also calls for Uber to overhaul its safety practices, and seeks unspecified damages in the case, according to Reuters. The news agency quoted Uber as saying that it's "deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime." Earlier, the woman was reported to have enlisted the services of Douglas Wigdor, a high-profile U.S. lawyer who represented Nafissatou Diallo, the New York City hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault. Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office went on to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, while a civil suit was settled out of court.
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Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

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  • Any this is why we cannot have nice things. Any attempt at improvements and progress is immediately attacked by those who seek egoistical gain or cry for an ever bigger nanny-state, or as in this case both.

    Blaming somebody's crime on Uber because they used the app is as absurd as blaming Tinder for failing to screen and monitor its users. (Although, I'm sure somebody will eventually sue for that as well).
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @01:29AM (#48944977)

    What standing does she have to sue in the US?

    • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @01:34AM (#48944995)

      Uber is a US company and Uber supplied the drivers hence she definitely has standing to sue.

    • In India, she would get peanuts.
      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        Exactly the point. She is after money.
        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Well, that's certainly what the submitter was trying to imply with the two sentences of flamebait about Strauss-Kahn tacked onto the end of an essentially unrelated news story.

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            I should add that the Strauss-Kahn red meat is getting old. First off, most of the descriptions of the case are way off, partially inspired by the prosecutors switching from overplaying the case against him to overplaying the case for him [slate.com]. To be clear:

            1) If an accusation is made, and the accused is convicted, the legal system has been determined that the person is guilty.
            2) If an accusation is made, the accused is not charged, and the accuser is convicted of making a false accusation, then the legal system

            • This should be obvious, but for some reason, many people are always fixated on interpreting #3 (by far the most common scenario) as #2.

              The "some reason" being that if someone goes to jail, the problem is solved - after all, they caught the bad guy, right? He's safely locked away or buried, unable to harm anyone again, and even more importantly, the injustice of an innocent person being victimized was just a temporary glitch that was promptly fixed - dreadful business, but now it's all behind us.

              But if pers

        • by radja ( 58949 )

          A bit like Uber then... Why is it bad if a human is after money, but not when a company is after money?

          • by ruir ( 2709173 )
            When she/he has not earned or worked his/her ass to it. Who says all of this is not fabricated, and a get-rich scheme in a bollywood-style grotesc movie just to game the american system, which is known to give huge sums? That is coming from a country where hundreds of women are raped every day, seems to be hardly Ubers fault. If I were Uber, I would not give a compensation and would go all the way to the court. And at the end of the day, any amount unduly gained by that individual is getting out of Ubers c
    • The company's $$$$ is in America. That's why the suit is here. Come to a U.S. court armed with an Indian judgment and see how far you get seizing assets. First law: go where the money is. Didn't you see she has a big-name lawyer? He wouldn't have gotten involved unless he was going to get paid. It's all about money, my friend.
    • It has 0 since the crime happened in India, So she would have to file suit in India not here. This case will get dropped by judge end of the first day.
    • by Maow ( 620678 )

      What standing does she have to sue in the US?

      There's probably something in the Terms of Use that the only jurisdiction that would be honoured is that of California.

      When I purchase from NewEgg.ca, inside Canada, paid with Canadian dollars, shipment 100% inside Canada, I have to agree to a stipulation that disputes (I forget the details) are to be resolved according to the laws of California, where I assume NewEgg is incorporated.

      Yet I don't even have a valid passport to go there should I wish to litigate over some issue.

      TL;DR version: Uber's rules say

      • "Rules" set up by a company where they like to be sued or to sue are usually void everywhere on the world.
        A private person usually can only be sued at the place he is living (or the next best place if a "higher court" is needed) and a company usually can only be sued at the pace it is registered.
        Otherwise every company would set up a clause in their "terms of business": 'please sue me in Usbecistan, where the judges do what I pay them for'.

        However: the US does everything regarding law pretty weird and archa

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          Actually a company I worked for had such clausule, any dispute/lawsuit has to be conducted on our home town (where all the courts are on their pocket). Luckily for me, I got a very good lawyer that said, "you no longer work for them, so the clausule does not have any standing anymore, so lets sue in your hometown instead. And guess what, he was right.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      This is a fucking lottery ticket. An indian woman exploring the happy sue free mentality of the US, how quaint. I guess it would be also interesting to assert the make of the car to open another lawsuit in Japan.
      • This is a fucking lottery ticket. An indian woman exploring the happy sue free mentality of the US, how quaint. I guess it would be also interesting to assert the make of the car to open another lawsuit in Japan.

        After being raped. So it's not a fucking lottery ticket, but a rape lottery ticket.

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          The point is that was an indian woman raped by a indian man, it this is not a made up scenario. The rest is just fluff and greed at work.
    • Seems you did not pay attention the last 30 years?
      Everyone sues everybody in the USA. The problem is the US courts "accept" such a case, or not. And usually for what ever reason they accept any case.
      So I bet this case will be accepted as well. And as all the lawyers earn lots of money: in the USA! And tax it in the USA being the "court of the world" is making the US big money since a few decades.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        the USA being the "court of the world"

        And all this time, I thought that Europe, with all of it's high-sounding international courts and lawyers, was the "court of the world".

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      All she's done is file paperwork and paid some fees. She's hasn't won a judgment yet.

      Of course, with the US justice system, anything is possible.

  • Not UBER's fault! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by balajeerc ( 1461659 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @01:51AM (#48945047)
    The facts have been misrepresented in this case both in the Indian media and now in the U.S press. UBER did indeed ask for a police certified character certificate from the driver and the driver in turn handed them one, albeit a forged certificate. Any Indian who has worked with security agencies will tell you that Indian police character verification certificate is simply expensive paper to wipe your ass with. They have no standard format, are easily faked and are expensive to obtain no matter whom you pay - the crooks in uniform who give you one for a bribe or the crooks not in uniform who make forged copies for a fee. There is no central verification database which companies can use to authenticate one of these certificates. How then was UBER supposed to figure out that the certificate he handed them was a forged one? UBER is a boon for middle class Indians who are otherwise at the mercy of corrupt autorickshaw drivers who have no fixed metering and fleece customers based on the hour. Also, there is atleast some sort of traceability in a cab. Had the victim been raped by an autorickshaw driver, the case would still be unsolved: just another file in a mountain of open rape cases that the Indian police is too incompetent to deal with. What happened to her was terrible, but she is being an opportunist here. This is less about ushering in accountability from UBER than it is about squeezing UBER for every penny she can. It saddens me that a fellow Indian would resort to this.
    • This is less about ushering in accountability from UBER than it is about squeezing UBER for every penny she can. It saddens me that a fellow Indian would resort to this.

      It saddens me that your government is so useless that she has nowhere else to turn. If she accuses her attacker at home, what happens to her?

    • by c ( 8461 )

      It saddens me that a fellow Indian would resort to this.

      Absolutely. After being raped by a fellow Indian and then having to deal with corrupt Indian authorities, you'd expect she'd think twice before she went to seek justice in another country and besmirched the pristine reputation of her fellow Indian's.

  • How (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @01:51AM (#48945049) Journal

    the woman was reported to have enlisted the services of Douglas Wigdor, a high-profile U.S. lawyer who represented Nafissatou Diallo, the New York City hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault.

    How did she manage to get hooked up with the same lawyer? How did a citizen living in India get connected with a high-profile lawyer in New York?

    • Re:How (Score:5, Informative)

      by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare.gmail@com> on Saturday January 31, 2015 @02:37AM (#48945203) Homepage Journal

      the lawyer seeks out the victim

      if you ever are the victim of a newsworthy accident/ crime, you will get cold called by a number of lawyers, who want to represent you pro bono

      because such cases gild their CV, get their name out there. free advertising

      some lawyers, they seek out interesting strange and noteworthy cases only. out of ego, fame, crank cause, adrenaline, hero complex, whatever:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

      etc.

    • I doubt he is working under clause that he only gets paid if he win's. This does sound like someone else is footing the bill. This case has 0 merit in the US, it happened in India so should be taken care of there.
    • She did not. He sought her out.
    • Pfft ... that is a stupid question my friend.

      An average indian might earn just a tenth of the average american, however:
      o the internet works the same there
      o they are as smart as you
      o they have similar education
      o they have newspapers, too

      I guess the name of the lawyer was published often enough in the news.
      And also: smart lawyers contact YOU if they feel they can make a case and lots of money if they represent you in the USA.

    • you've never heard the term "Ambulance Chaser?" The law firm took the case on contingency and is looking to milk Uber, she'll make a relative fortune for India but it'll probably be only 10% of the gross. It's funny how Uber is being singled out here and I'm wondering if the Taxi lobby isn't somehow involved. New York law firm, New York Taxi lobby.. It also seems really, really strange since general taxi rapes/crimes don't seem to get the same media hype as Uber. Sure, there's coverage, but it's not a

  • Put a cam on the driver. That should help, I think.

  • Condolences to the victim, of course.

    When I say, "It took this long?" I mean that a completely unregulated livery (taxi) service went this long without some Uber driver or other comitting a major crime upon one of their 'customers'?

    We have regulations on taxis FOR GOOD REASONS.

    The wise will short-sell stock in Uber. Or just avoid it. Too much arrogance and scofflaw-like attitude.

    • by jopsen ( 885607 )

      When I say, "It took this long?" I mean that a completely unregulated livery (taxi) service went this long without some Uber driver or other comitting a major crime upon one of their 'customers'?

      In many countries regulation consists of mandatory training, extra drivers tests, advanced first aid courses, etc. Most companies requires a clean criminal record (well they review the record, in case of severe crimes). But in many countries entries on a criminal record also expires... These are not guarantees.

      Either way, I feel more safe using Uber because there is an electronic record on everything linked to credit cards, car registrations, etc. So if a driver robs me tries something funny, filing crimi

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        Do you realize in India this also happens with regular taxis and molestation charges are a daily occurrence, right? It is not the USA.
  • How is this Ubers fault? This is like suing a newspaper for not doing background checks on people sending/calling in classified adds when something bad happens in regards to them. Uber is just creating the meeting place for people to exchange a service, not providing the service themselves. People who use it have to recognize that fact and take proper precautions, as you would with any classified/craigslist/etc add.

    • It's Uber's fault because they have money. That's how the justice works in our country. If you can't criminally convict somebody you hit them in the wallet. If they're poor you go after the company he works for because of his behavior. I worked on an accident case awhile back where fortunately only one person died, the driver, because it could have been much, much worse. Think fire/flames/lots of people. The vehicle he was driving was company owned and it had been so poorly maintained that the ABS sys

  • I "am not happy" with my Apple products. Can I game the USA legal system to become millionaire too?
  • Have we suddenly forgotten how totally crappy public transport in India is? Where 6 men can rape a woman to death [theguardian.com] with a steel pipe in a crowded pubic bus and nobody intervenes? Or the 6 guys who raped a Swiss tourist who was bicycling [ctvnews.ca]? Or this copycat rape [bbc.com] where the bus driver and bus conductor refused to let the woman off the bus, drove to an isolated spot, raped her, and 5 others also joined in? Or the police refusing to listen [bbc.com], instead laughing [bbc.com] when the family tried to report their two girls missing -

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is infuriating that people get the facts of this case wrong.

    1) It was rape. Period. Medical examinations after the fact confirmed it, and the rapist confessed, not only to raping this woman, but also to raping the woman in 2011, for which he was acquitted.
    2) Uber India does NOT perform background checks at all, so they are liable. There can't be specualtion as to the thoroughness of their background check process, becasue there isn't one. They claim to require a commercial permit to drive a taxi, bu

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