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Rape victim files new lawsuit against Uber

  • A rape victim filed a lawsuit against Uber on Thursday.
  • Recode reported that an Uber executive obtained medical records of a 26-year-old woman who alleged she was raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014.
  • She's seeking a trial by jury to determine damages and is requesting an injunction.
Travis Kalanick, CEO of UBER
Robert Galbraith | Reuters
Travis Kalanick, CEO of UBER

A rape victim filed a lawsuit against Uber on Thursday after reports that executives there took her medical records.

She's seeking a trial by jury to determine damages and is requesting an injunction directing that Uber "take all affirmative steps .... to prevent repeated occurrences in the future."

The lawsuit comes after Recode reported that an Uber executive obtained medical records of a 26-year-old woman who alleged she was raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014. The executive reportedly showed the records to other executives within the company, who had been formulating a theory that the crime was planted by a competing company to sabotage Uber.

The executive, Eric Alexander, has since left the company, along with key executive Emil Michael. The accused Uber driver was convicted.

"No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and we're truly sorry that she's had to relive it over the last few weeks," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

Uber helped the prosecution in the rape case at the time it was being heard, and also settled a lawsuit with the woman in 2015. CEO Travis Kalanick publicly said at the time of the case he would do "everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery."

But in a legal filing, her lawyers argue that Uber's statement was duplicitous and that Uber has intruded in her private affairs and defamed her. The complaint says that Uber may still have the medical records.

"By focusing on 'whether she was really raped at all,' and painting Plaintiff as an opportunist and a liar, Defendants seemed to be assuring themselves that the only reason why a woman would report a sexual assault is for personal gain, rather than to prevent similar crimes from occurring again or to right an injustice," the complaint reads.

The case is one of many scandals to hit Uber in recent months, many of which were addressed in a detailed improvement plan this week.

Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler alleged the company failed to act on sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints, sparking a probe that led to the dismissal of at least 20 workers.

A separate investigation by law firm Covington & Burling, led by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, released 13 pages of recommendations for Uber this week, including more oversight for executives.

"Indeed, Alexander's actions were just a sampling in a long series of inappropriate, discriminatory actions that he, Kalanick and Michael took for years without any consequences," the complaint said.