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Passenger sues Uber, says driver fondled her

Updated: March 20, 2014 9:55AM



A woman is suing rideshare service Uber, claiming one of its drivers fondled and harassed her and wouldn’t let her out of the vehicle when she ordered a ride earlier this month.

The woman filed the suit Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court against San Francisco-based Uber Technologies, Inc., as well as the driver.

According to the lawsuit, the driver picked up the plaintiff March 8 near the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line stop after she ordered a ride to the North Side through Uber’s app.

However, the driver did not follow the directions she gave him and asked her to move to the front seat to help him navigate, the suit claims.

When she moved to the front, the driver started touching her hand and told her she was beautiful, the suit said.

He asked her to dinner while touching her leg, but when she refused, the driver slowed down and meandered through residential side streets, asking for her phone number and asking why she would not go out with him, the suit claims.

The driver repeatedly stopped the car while fondling the woman’s legs, groin and breasts, the suit claims. He also kept telling the woman they would have sex and were going to dinner together, the suit said.

The suit alleges the driver would not unlock the car doors or stop to let her out of the car. The woman claims she tried to get out on her own several times, but that each time the driver would start the car moving again.

After the woman threatened to call police, the driver tried to make her get out of the car on outer Lake Shore Drive, the suit claims. The man eventually let her out near Diversey and Clark and “begged her” not to tell anyone about what happened, the suit said.

The company said it deactivated the driver’s account after hearing about the alleged incident and does so for similar complaints.

“Any situation where a rider or driver feels unsafe is absolutely unacceptable to us,” Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian said in an email. “The safety of riders and drivers comes first, and we will work with law enforcement in every way we can to help any investigative efforts.”

Since the incident, the plaintiff has had mood swings and nightmares and is afraid to leave her home, according to the suit.

A 31-year-old man with the same name as the defendant listed in the suit was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery on March 10, police said, but further details on the arrest were not available.

The six-count suit claims negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment against the driver. It also claims common carrier liability against Uber Technologies, Inc.

The suit seeks at least $50,000 in damages.



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