Uber has appealed to a US court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by an Indian woman, allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi, saying that she was seeking action against the “wrong party.” Uber filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in US District Court for the Northern District of California yesterday. Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelines
Uber has been sued by the 25-year-old woman who has alleged that she was raped by Shiv Kumar Yadav last December. She is being represented by prominent New York attorney Douglas Wigdor, who had also represented Naffisatau Diallo, the hotel maid who had accused former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his hotel room. Also Read - Uber launches 'Uber Connect' package delivery service to rival Dunzo and Swiggy Genie
In court papers, Uber said while there is “no question” that the alleged crime is “deplorable,” the law requires that all plaintiffs should pursue their claims against the right party or “those legally responsible for the harm.” Also Read - Uber to operate 'Essential' cab service to hospitals and pharmacy stores in 4 cities
“Plaintiff’s counsel has chosen to sue only Uber Technologies, which never had any relationship with Yadav, the alleged assailant,” Uber said in the motion, adding that Yadav’s only contractual relationship with any Uber entity was with Uber BV, a Dutch company not party to the suit.
“While Plaintiff undoubtedly can state a claim against her alleged assailant, she cannot state a claim against Uber US, which is the wrong party,” it added.
Uber further said that California law does not govern a dispute involving an alleged wrong committed by one Indian citizen against another Indian citizen, in India. “This constitutes an improper extraterritorial application of US and California law,” it said.
The case against Uber also asks the court to enter a “sweeping injunction” that will result in “a worldwide order that would apply to countless foreign parties not before the court and run roughshod over local laws and regulations around the world.”
Seeking dismissal of the complaint in its entirety, Uber said that Uber BV – a Netherlands-based entity with no US operations — is the company with whom the woman and the driver contracted to use the Uber software on the night when the rape occurred.
“Plaintiff’s complaint hinges on the legal assertion that Yadav had a relationship with Uber US, which is flatly incorrect and directed at the wrong party,” it said.
Uber added that even if the woman could proceed under California and federal law on claims against it, the complaint still fails for a variety of independent reasons, including that there is “no conceivable set of facts that would ever make Uber US, which has no relationship with Yadav whatsoever, his ’employer’.
“Moreover, even if Yadav were an employee, California law would hold the alleged perpetrator — not his alleged employer — liable for the type of acts alleged here,” Uber said.