An elderly Texas woman who was allegedly raped by an Uber driver has sued the rideshare company for negligence for allowing a driver to pick up passengers even though he faced criminal charges for assault.
In Doe v. Uber, which was recently filed in a Dallas state district court, the 77-year-old plaintiff alleges she was raped by Hashem Ramezanpour, who faced pending criminal charges for assaulting a young woman. Doe alleges that instead of taking her home on Oct. 22, Ramezanpour drove her to a secluded wooded area where he beat and raped her.
“When Uber placed unsuspecting women such as Ms. Doe, alone inside Ramezanpour’s vehicle, it was like locking visitors at a zoo inside a hungry tiger’s cage,” according to the suit, which alleges Uber was negligent in failing to do an appropriate background check on Ramezanpour before allowing him to transport passengers.
After lab tests confirmed Ramezanpour as the plaintiff’s rapist, he was charged with felony sexual assault but fled the country before he could be arrested, according to the petition. Ramezanpour is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Quentin Brogdon, a Dallas lawyer who represents the plaintiff in the case, alleges Uber’s safety policy, which generally accepts drivers as long as they are not convicted of a felony, does not go far enough to protect passengers.
“The instruction from my client is to make sure this kind of thing never happens again to a helpless unsuspecting woman at the hands of an Uber driver,” said Brogdon, a partner in Crain Lewis Brogdon. “What should be happening is ongoing review of driver criminal histories, the disqualification of drivers for arrests, not simply convictions, and the fingerprinting of all drivers to obtain definitive confirmations of no past criminal records.’’
A spokesperson for Uber did not return an emailed request for comment.