Uber has agreed to settle a civil lawsuit with an Indian woman who accused the ride-hailing company and its top executives of “unlawfully” obtaining her medical records and engaging in offensive conspiracy theories after a company driver raped her, according to a media report. The 2014 incident in New Delhi had triggered scrutiny into Uber by the Indian government and the company was banned from operating in the national capital till June 2015. The 26-year-old woman, identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit filed in federal court in California in June, had said in the complaint that Uber executives unlawfully obtained and shared her medical records from that vicious sexual assault. The woman was living in Texas when she filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed days after it emerged that Eric Alexander, the president of business in the Asia Pacific, had obtained medical records of the woman and had shown them to then Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and the company’s then-Senior Vice President for Business Emil Michael. The company later fired Alexander. The lawsuit was settled in San Francisco where Uber has its headquarters, the BBC reported. Terms of the latest settlement have not been disclosed. A Delhi court in 2015 sentenced Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav Yadav to life imprisonment for raping the woman. The lawsuit said that after the woman’s sexual assault, Alexander went directly to Delhi where he managed to obtain her confidential, private medical records generated by physicians who examined her after the brutal rape.
Alexander then showed the records to Kalanick and Michael and the three “discussed the records among themselves and with other staff at Uber, speculating that Plaintiff had made up the brutal rape in collusion with a rival of Uber in India in order to undermine Uber’s business”, a reference to Uber’s rival taxi/ride-hailing company Ola. “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 lawsuit said.
The woman had filed a lawsuit in January 2015 against Uber arguing that the company did not adequately screen its drivers and its “negligence and fraud” lead to her being sexually assaulted and humiliated. However, in February 2015, the woman had “voluntarily” dismissed the lawsuit.