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Uber Hires Top Law Firm in India Rape Case

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 26, 2017 7:00 AM

Is there anything dirtier, uglier, or more noxious than the grime on the underbelly of a road-worn car?

You might expect to find it on a car coursing the muddy, unpaved roads of India, but not the shining streets of the Silicon Valley, home to the world's largest car-hailing service.

So it would seem. But a top law firm may find out whether Uber has been hiding a most ugly detail for years.

Rape Victim

Uber has hired O'Melveny & Myers to investigate how the company obtained records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2015, Reuters reported.

The rape victim sued Uber, accusing the ride-sharing operator of improperly acquiring her medical records. The suit said former Uber Asia chief Eric Alexander "met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained plaintiff's confidential medical records."

According to Reuters, Alexander and former CEO Travis Kalanick discussed obtaining the victim's records because they suspected the rape might have been fabricated by an Uber rival. Sources also told the news agency that bribes were involved.

An Uber spokesperson denied the allegations. Uber fired Alexander earlier this month, and Kalanick resigned this week.

Kalanick Departure

Kalanick was forced to resigned after a law firm reported the company had a "frequently chaotic and hostile work environment without adequate systems in place to ensure that violations such as sexual harassment and retaliatory behavior were dealt with professionally."

Uber had hired Covington & Burling to investigate claims of sexual harassment and gender bias at the company that had spread across the internet. The company said it fired more than 20 employees as a result of the probe.

The company has not disclosed whether Kalanick resigned over the India rape case, but he is named in the lawsuit. The driver was sentenced to life in prison.

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