Uber headquarters, located at 1455 Market St. in San Francisco, CA. (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM)
SAN FRANCICSO — Judging by the caliber of the defense counsel they’ve hired, Uber Technologies and a group of former executives appear to be taking a new lawsuit brought by a woman raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi in 2014 seriously.
Uber reportedly paid $3 million to settle claims brought on behalf of the Jane Doe plaintiff by lawyers at Wigdor LLP in New York and Yuhl Carr in San Diego in a prior lawsuit against the company. But the Wigdor lawyers teamed up with San Francisco Anderson & Poole to file a new lawsuit in June for invasion of privacy and defamation claims after reports surfaced that Uber executives obtained and reviewed the victim’s medical records.
Tech website Recode reported in June that former Uber executive Eric Alexander traveled to India to obtain the confidential medical records and police file from the victim’s case, then shared those filings with former Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael and former CEO Travis Kalanick. The lawsuit claims that while Kalanick publicly pledged support for the victim in the wake of the attack, he worked behind the scenes to undermine her credibility and questioned whether she was colluding with an Indian rival to undermine Uber.
While Uber was represented by the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in the earlier suit, the company has brought on Daniel Bookin of O’Melveny & Myers to fend off the defamation suit. Meanwhile, Kalanick has turned to the same Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe team representing him in Uber’s trade secret showdown with Google’s autonomous vehicle unit: Melinda Haag, the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, and Walter Brown, leader of the firm’s white-collar practice.
On Tuesday, a team from Latham & Watkins, including Steven Bauer and Margaret Tough, signed on for Michael. Bauer and Tough were among the lead defense lawyers for PG&E in the company’s criminal trial last year stemming from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.
Michael Shepard, managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ San Francisco office, is representing Alexander.
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