A 26-year-old woman who was allegedly raped and beaten by her Uber driver in Delhi last month has hired a New York attorney and is now considering suing Uber in the US, the Guardian reports.
The woman has approached high-profile attorney Douglas Wigdor, who previously represented the hotel maid who accused former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault.
Wigdor told The Guardian he was considering the possibility of the Delhi woman suing Uber for negligence in a US court.
“I can confirm that I have been retained by the young lady who was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India, last December,” Wigdor said to the Guardian. “Having met extensively with her and her family while in Delhi, I can only compliment them for their bravery and fortitude during this very difficult time. We will use all of our resources to vindicate my client’s rights, hold those responsible for their actions and ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
Following the unnamed Delhi woman’s assault, Delhi, India’s capital territory, banned the service. Uber suspended operations in New Delhi to review its Indian operations three days later, according to a company blog post.
The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal intimidation, rape, and kidnapping.
Reuters reports Yadav has offenses on his record including robbery, molestation, and possessing an unlicensed firearm. Despite this, he was still allowed to drive for Uber, which has drawn criticism about Uber’s background check policy.
In the wake of the alleged assault, Uber has cooperated with Indian authorities. A change.org petition asking Uber to match its Indian background check standards to its seven-year US background checks elicited a response from the company.
In its response to the petition, Uber’s India Safety Lead
Deval Delivala said in a statement, “The tragic event in Delhi was a deeply sobering reminder, that we must always be vigilant in the endeavour to achieve best-in-class safety. Our teams have worked tirelessly in the past month to re-verify all safety aspects of our operations in India. These include document verification, driver-partner background checks, rider feedback and all service support processes.”
Delivala also stated Uber would introduce a series of new safety measures in the country, including better background checks, police and document verification for drivers, in-app safety features, and a localised incident response team.
We have reached out to Uber and will update this post when we hear back.