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Uber Sexual Assault Survivors Achieve Legal Milestone in Ongoing Struggle

Hundreds of women have initiated legal actions against Uber, accusing the company of inadequately safeguarding passengers against sexual assault. A panel of judges has now decided to consolidate approximately 80 of these cases into a federal court.

Judge Charles Breyer, situated in the Northern District of California, will oversee all pretrial proceedings, including witness and expert depositions and document discovery.

This development is significant as these documents are expected to shed light on what is believed to be a widespread issue of sexual assault involving Uber drivers and passengers, according to Bret Stanley, an attorney with the Texas firm Kherkher Garcia, who represents several of the victims.

In a separate case in New York, a woman named Amber Moye has filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber, alleging that she was kidnapped and raped by an Uber driver in Brooklyn in late December 2018.

Ms. Moye shared her emotional account, stating, “It just really messed me up mentally more than anything else. And if you’re not right mentally, you’re not right anywhere else.”

The lawsuit details how Ms. Moye had ordered an Uber ride after a night out and, in her intoxicated state, fell asleep in the backseat. When she woke up, she found the driver in the backseat with her.

Unsure of exactly what transpired, she exited the car and returned home. However, the following day, she began experiencing vaginal pain, which she suspected was a result of an assault. She sought medical attention at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, where a rape kit confirmed that she had been assaulted. The New York City Police Department’s special victims unit conducted an interview with her at the hospital.

Uber responded to the case with a statement expressing their commitment to safety and their determination to create safer platform features and policies. They acknowledged the seriousness of sexual assault but refrained from commenting further on the pending litigation.

The issue of ride-sharing drivers sexually assaulting passengers has been a concern for nearly a decade. In 2022, Uber released a U.S. safety report that included sexual harassment and assault data from 2019 to 2020, recording over 3,000 incidents during that period, a decrease from previous years.

Uber has faced mounting pressure to enhance its safety measures for years, with previous incidents in places like India leading to bans on its operation. The company is currently contending with around 100 sexual assault cases in California that have been grouped together. Uber’s request to remove the term “sexual assault” from the lawsuit name was denied by a U.S. judicial panel.

Uber is not the only ride-sharing company facing such scrutiny, as female passengers have sued similar services, claiming rape, kidnapping, or sexual assault while using their apps.

Amber Moye’s lawsuit was filed against Uber and its subsidiary, Raiser LLC, under New York’s now-expired Adult Survivors Act, which allowed adult survivors of sexual abuse to file civil claims against their assailants during a one-year lookback window, regardless of when the crime occurred.

This lawsuit is one of over 100 sexual assault and harassment cases brought against Uber by Slater Slater Schulman LLP, the firm representing Ms. Moye. Jaime M Farrell, an attorney from the same firm, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that if Uber does not make changes, these assaults will persist.

Ms. Moye, determined to share her story and advocate for other women, calls for stronger background checks and the removal of drivers who have faced complaints as part of Uber’s vetting process, stating, “This is happening too often.” The assault has significantly disrupted her life, leading to job loss and mental trauma.”

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