Uber Facing Class Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Rape by Drivers

"These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously," an Uber spokesperson said

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Uber by two unidentified female passengers who allege they were sexually assaulted by their drivers in cases that occurred in Miami and Los Angeles.

"Uber will stop at no lengths to make a profit," the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California states. "Since Uber launched in 2010, thousands of female passengers have endured unlawful conduct by their Uber drivers including rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment."

The lawsuit was filed by the Anderson & Poole, P.C., law firm based in San Francisco and the New York-based Wigdor Law LLP firm on behalf of plaintiffs identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

Jane Doe 1 is described as an adult woman living in Miami. On Oct. 15, 2016, Nimber Abdallah, who had previously been charged with a felony, picked up Jane Doe 1 and her friend who used the Uber phone app.

Jane Doe 1 was "barely conscious" and has "limited recollection" of the ride. Once they arrived at the apartment, Abdallah "entered the apartment and carried Ms. Doe 1 into her bedroom," according to the lawsuit.

"Ms. Doe 1's friend saw Abdallah sprawled on top of Ms. Doe 1 on her bed kissing her. When the friend demanded that Abdallah leave the apartment, his only response was to invite her to join them on Ms. Doe 1's bed," the lawsuit states. "Her friend became so frightened that she locked herself in the bathroom of the apartment, terrified. She passed out in the bathroom for the rest of the night."

Jane Doe 1 called police when she saw evidence that she was raped the next morning. Abdallah was later arrested on a charge of sexual battery of a victim who was physically incapacitated.

Following the Miami incident, Uber released a statement last year in which it said that those "actions are in clear violation of the community guidelines."

The California case involves Jane Doe 2, who is described as an adult woman living in Los Angeles. In in the incident, the lawsuit said that she had been picked alone in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake on Jan. 18, by a driver identified as "Miguel Last Name Unknown" after she had dinner with a friend.

Jane Doe 2 fell asleep in the backseat of the car and woke up during the assault, according to the lawsuit. Miguel then drove home Jane Doe 2 who was in and out of consciousness– forced her to engage in intercourse against her will and then left, the lawsuit continues.

An Uber spokesperson in a statement to NBC 6 said that while the company does not currently know the specific details of the accusations, it will review the information that has been provided.

"Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it. These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously," the spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Uber pledged $5 million during the next five years to fund sexual assault prevention groups as well as train its own employees. Uber says the groups have helped it train 150 customer service agents for a team to deal with sexual assault reports. They’ve learned how to interview victims without being judgmental, and how to refer them to police and a crisis hotline.

Uber’s image has been tarnished by findings of sexual harassment of employees and multiple reports of drivers assaulting passengers. Other industries have also recently come under fire as women have been coming forward with complaints of sexual assault in Hollywood and other industries.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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