Lorraine Delp, a model based in Philadelphia, filed a $US500,000 lawsuit on Tuesday against an Uber driver, claiming he punched her in the face and punctured her neck with an earring during an incident that occurred in July, NBC Philadelphia reports.
Delp claims she was sitting in traffic when the Uber driver in question, Djamal Khelife, approached her window and urged her to move her car, banging on the window and shouting profanities.
She says the driver spat on her window after she had mouthed the words “Do not touch my car.”
Delp says she got out of her car and the Uber driver punched her in the face, which dislocated her nose. Khelife’s blow also allegedly resulted in one of her earrings puncturing her neck. She also claimed to suffer from bruises and a scratch on her arm, and she says her shirt was ripped as well.
Court documents say “a pair of Good Samaritans came to Delp’s aid” and pulled the driver off the woman. Police were called to the scene shortly thereafter.
Khalife was arrested on charges of simple and aggravated assault, as well as reckless endangerment. He was released on $US6,000 bail the next day and wasn’t arraigned until October. His trial is expected to begin Jan. 22, 2015.
Khelife’s attorney Debra Rainey is calling Delp’s claims into question, saying her injuries would have been worse had Khalif actually attacked her as she said he did. Rainey also says Khalife was off duty at the time.
We’ve reached out to Uber to learn more about what the company is doing in this case, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.
Though the case occurred in July, it’s just another incident to add to the litany of alleged Uber driver-related assaults over the past several months. Last Saturday, Nikki Williams, a singer-songwriter based in South Africa, said her Uber driver “tried to grab and kiss on me in my own driveway” and reported the incident to Uber, which in turn deactivated the driver.
The week prior, a Boston-based Uber driver was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and raping a passenger on Dec. 6. And the week before that, an Uber driver in India allegedly raped a female passenger.
In response to this string of alleged incidents, Uber outlined several steps it is considering to increase the safety of its global operations, including research into biometrics and voice verification to improve its screenings of drivers.