Uber rape survivor hires NY lawyer to sue company

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2015 07:42 IST

A Delhi woman allegedly raped by a Uber driver has retained a New York lawyer known for achieving high-figure settlements for his clients to sue the cab-hailing company here in the US.

“I can confirm that I have been retained by the young lady who was so tragically raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India last December,” attorney David Wigdor told HT.

He met the victim and her family while in Delhi, and said, “I can only compliment them for their bravery and fortitude during this very difficult time”.

The lawyer, who represented Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape and sexual assault, praised the Delhi Police “for their professionalism in locating the perpetrator and gathering the evidence of this detestable crime as well as the department of transportation for their courage in enforcing a ban on Uber until such time as it can be assured that this will never happen again”.

The alleged rapist, Uber driver Shivlal Yadav, has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and remains in custody awaiting trial, which will continue unaffected by the US case.

Wigdor would neither discuss strategy nor the timing of when he plans to file a suit. But experts believe he will try to prove the rape took place because of negligence here in the US.

“US courts can impose jurisdiction in situations such as this where the negligence occurred in the US that caused harm elsewhere,” said a lawyer not willing to be identified.

There is precedence for that. US courts have admitted scores of complaints from plaintiffs, for instance, suing Indian leaders for the 1984 riots, and most recently, Gujarat riots.

Advancing to the next step in the US legal system, they have issued summons and notices, but there hasn’t yet been a conviction or any other successful outcome for complainants.

But other plaintiffs have been more successful.

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