Lawsuit Filed a Month After Uber Disclosed That Nearly 1,000 Sexual Assaults Occurred in U.S. Uber Vehicles in Single Year
Complaint Details How Riders Were Assaulted by Uber Drivers As the Company Prioritized Growth Over Passenger Safety
SAN FRANCISCO, July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Uber Technologies, Inc. ("Uber") today has been named in a civil action alleging that women passengers in multiple states were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed, or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers with whom they had been paired through the Uber application. The complaint was filed today in San Francisco County Superior Court by attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP, a full-service law firm focused on representing survivors of catastrophic and traumatic events. Slater Slater Schulman LLP has approximately 550 clients with claims against Uber, with at least 150 more being actively investigated.
Last month, Uber released its second U.S. Safety Report, in which it stated that there were 998 sexual assault incidents, including 141 rape reports, in 2020 alone, the most recent year with available data. Uber disclosed that it received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020, ranging from "non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part" to "non-consensual sexual penetration," or rape.
As detailed in the complaint filed by Slater Slater Schulman LLP today, as early as 2014, Uber became aware that its drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers; nevertheless, in the eight years since, sexual predators driving for Uber have continued to attack passengers, including the plaintiffs whose claims were alleged in today's action:
- In February 2022, an Uber driver sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a woman who was a passenger in his vehicle in Chino Hills, CA.
- In November 2021, an Uber driver fondled and raped a passenger in Perris, CA.
- In August 2021, an Uber driver convinced a woman passenger to sit in the front seat of his vehicle, where he forcefully kissed her and sexually assaulted her.
- In October 2021, an Uber driver attempted to rape a woman outside Pittsburgh, PA, rather than take her safely to her destination.
- Also in October 2021, an Uber driver attempted to rape a woman passenger in Boston, MA.
"Uber's whole business model is predicated on giving people a safe ride home, but rider safety was never their concern – growth was, at the expense of their passengers' safety," said Adam Slater, Founding Partner of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. "While the company has acknowledged this crisis of sexual assault in recent years, its actual response has been slow and inadequate, with horrific consequences."
Uber's prioritization of growth over customer safety – and the resulting horror experienced by many of its passengers – is well-documented. As outlined in the complaint, Uber was fixated on getting new drivers onboarded as quickly as possible to fuel growth, so it eschewed traditional background check standards. For example, former CEO Travis Kalanick intentionally opted to hire drivers without fingerprinting them or running their information through FBI databases, and Uber's current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continued this policy after he took over in August 2017.
Additionally, Uber has a longstanding policy that it will not report any criminal activity – even assaults and rape – to law-enforcement authorities. After widespread media reporting of Uber's sexual assault and harassment problems, Uber in 2018 acknowledged a "deeply rooted problem" of sexual assault. Despite awareness of this problem, the company has refused to install video cameras in cars, even though doing so could prevent passengers and drivers from being assaulted, and it has maintained a "three strikes" policy for its drivers that kept predators at the wheel even after serious passenger complaints.
"There is so much more that Uber can be doing to protect riders: adding cameras to deter assaults, performing more robust background checks on drivers, creating a warning system when drivers don't stay on a path to a destination," said Adam Slater. "But the company refuses to, and that's why my firm has 550 clients with claims against Uber and we're investigating at least 150 more. Acknowledging the problem through safety reports is not enough. It is well past time for Uber to take concrete actions to protect its customers."
Individuals seeking to be linked to resources for sexual assault survivors can call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provides confidential support from trained staff members and can assist with finding local healthcare resources, help talk through what happened, and offer referrals for long-term support.
ABOUT SLATER SLATER SCHULMAN LLP
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is a prominent full-service law firm with over 40 years of experience representing survivors of catastrophic and traumatic events. Our nationally renowned attorneys are committed to ensuring the best results for our clients through persistence and zealous representation. We have achieved successful resolutions in some of the most challenging cases in the industry, including complex historical sexual abuse cases involving massive institutions, including academic, religious, and youth organizations. Our firm also has been recognized for its efforts representing clients in pharmaceutical drug litigation, product liability litigation, environmental litigation, employment and labor law, medical malpractice, and personal injury, and has successfully represented thousands of World Trade Center survivors to receive compensation for their injuries. Learn more at sssfirm.com.
For Slater Slater Schulman LLP:
Joan Vollero / Anne Hart
SOURCE Slater Slater Schulman LLP