Wednesday 22 May 2019

Indian woman allegedly raped by Uber driver plans to sue taxi service in US courts

Cab share company Uber has promised better criminal checks on drivers amid passenger safety fears
Cab share company Uber has promised better criminal checks on drivers amid passenger safety fears

Andrew Macaskil

A woman who was allegedly raped by an Uber taxi driver in India's capital has hired a prominent lawyer to sue the online-hailing taxi service in US courts.

The financial executive, who cannot be named under an Indian law that grants rape victims anonymity, has hired Douglas Wigdor, a New York-based employment lawyer.

"We have been in talks over the last few weeks, which led to me being retained," Wigdor said in an email, declining to comment on the basis or timing of any case.

Read more: Uber driver accused of homophobia after 'kicking a gay couple out for kissing'

Among recent work, Wigdor represented the hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault.

The Delhi government blacklisted Uber from operating in the capital last month after the alleged attack on the passenger as she returned home from seeing friends.

The case triggered protests and reignited a debate about the safety of women in Asia's third-largest economy, especially in New Delhi, which has been dubbed India's rape capital.

Read more: Uber driver who passed background check charged with kidnapping and rape in US

Public outrage was further fuelled when it was revealed the man was out on bail for sexual assault and Uber acknowledged that it did not carry out background checks on drivers in India.

An Uber spokesman declined to comment on the case. He said the company was in talks with the Delhi government to restart operations in the city.

The U.S. company, which was valued at $40bn last month, has also been dogged by controversy surrounding its aggressive approach to local governments, traditional taxi services and concerns about safety.

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