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Lawsuit withdrawn by Uber Rape victim in US

A woman who had accused an Uber driver-partner of raping her has withdrawn her lawsuit from a California District Court. Uber Taxi, the online cab hailing company, which is facing multiple hurdles at this juncture, was reprieved with this withdrawal.

On January 29, the woman had filed a lawsuit in the US court in the case (Jane Doe vs. Uber Technologies). Whether to set it to trial or adopt alternative dispute mechanism was scheduled to be decided on 111th September.  From multiple sources, it was quoted that the woman had asked for Rs 100 crore compensation from Uber. It wasn’t clear whether the San Francisco, California-headquartered Uber had reached a settlement with the woman.

After this particular incident, all online cab aggregators had added safety features in their mobile applications and in the taxis. However problems with Uber persisted. Partner at Wigdor did not reply to ET’s email till the time of going to press. Even Uber did not comment anything related to the case.

An admission of the lawsuit against Uber in a US court would have set a precedent that the parent American companies could be held potentially liable by Indian customers for acts committed in India. Since Uber had created a subsidiary in the Netherlands for contracting drivers in India, it argued that the case could not be heard in the US.  In India, an internet company can be held liable under the IT Act only when it can be proven that the firm had conspired or abetted or aided in the commission of an unlawful act. The Economic Times

Pavan Duggal, advocate, Supreme Court of India said, “To avoid liability, internet companies create complicated corporate structures to limit potential legal liability to frustrate any action for legal redressal.”

TMT Law Firm counts technology companies as clients. Advocate with TMT Law firm, Aditya Singh said, “In a case of a civil dispute, the cab owner, driver and service provider will have vicarious liability. In case of criminal liability, the service provider will also become liable only in the instance of proven gross negligence or malafide intentions.” 

It was realized that the online taxi aggregators were operating without a license after the woman’s complaint of rape triggered a rage and fury that resulted in a temporary ban on Uber in several cities of India.

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