Federal court interpretation finds plaintiff did not properly allege Uber was common carrier or negligent in hiring, retention, supervision of alleged sexual perpetrator. Did amply allege claims of negligent misrepresentation, deceptive trade practices.
The District Court was charged with evaluating the pleading sufficiency of numerous causes of action by a Jane Doe against Uber related to a physical and sexual assault allegedly suffered by Jane Doe at the hands of an Uber driver. The court ultimately noted that the New York courts have not unequivocally settled the common carrier question as to ride-sharing apps. However, it noted that, in any event, New York no longer charges common carriers with a heightened duty absent a special relationship.
However, the court did find that the negligent misrepresentation claim could proceed on the basis that statements, such as offering the “safest rides on the road,” rose to a level of specific characteristics as opposed to “aspirational puffery” that could shield Uber from liability. Therefore, accepting the plaintiff’s allegations as true, that Uber’s screening failures have resulted in thousands of sexual assaults, the plaintiff’s allegations of misrepresentation, deceptive practices and misleading statements created cognizable causes of action that the plaintiff could pursue in litigation.
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