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Lawsuit Claims Uber Driver Drugged and Sexually Assaulted Passengers, Resulting in a Woman’s Suicide

In Southern California, a young woman tragically ended her life after she and a friend were drugged and sexually assaulted by an Uber driver in 2020, as detailed in a new lawsuit against Uber.

The lawsuit, initiated by the victim’s father in the San Francisco Superior Court, accuses Uber and its subsidiary Rasier LLC of negligence in their driver screening processes and failing to alert female passengers about potential sexual assault risks.

The complaint, filed by Nestor Garcia, claims this negligence contributed to his daughter’s wrongful death. The suit doesn’t specify the demanded damages.

An Uber spokesperson, while emphasizing their commitment to user safety on the platform, refrained from commenting on the ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit is part of a mass tort, indicating the alleged harm caused by the defendant to many individuals. Garcia’s attorney, Walt Cubberly of Williams Hart & Boundas, represents numerous people claiming victimization by Uber drivers.

The complaint recounts a July 2020 incident where Ezly Garcia Rodriguez and a friend, referred to as Jane Doe, were picked up by an Uber in West Hollywood. Unaware to them, the driver spiked their water, leading to their incapacitation. They later awoke at Doe’s home, finding the front door open.

Months later, the Los Angeles Police Department contacted the women, having arrested the driver, identified only as “Javier,” and seized his phone. Videos on the phone showed Javier sexually assaulting them.

Devastated by the video evidence, Ms. Garcia Rodriguez tragically overdosed two days later. The police report of the assault was found in her room.

The complaint highlights ongoing issues with ride-share driver sexual assaults, referring to a 2014 lawsuit by San Francisco and Los Angeles District Attorneys against Uber for inadequate background checks. Uber settled with a penalty of up to $25 million.

Uber’s safety reports from 2017 to 2020 revealed thousands of sexual assault cases, including over 850 incidents of “non-consensual sexual penetration.” Despite this, Uber has not implemented biometric checks and does not permit female passengers to specifically request female drivers.

Lyft recently introduced a feature for women and nonbinary drivers and passengers to match more frequently.

The complaint further alleges Uber’s reluctance to report sexual assaults to authorities and cooperate with law enforcement, citing the company’s policy of letting victims decide to report.

Jane Doe, the other victim in the incident, has also filed a similar lawsuit against Uber and Rasier.

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