Emil Michael said he’s not to blame for violating the privacy of the victim of an attack by an Uber driver.
Emil Michael, the former top Uber executive who was ousted by the company’s board earlier this year, has filed a motion to have a problematic lawsuit related to a rape incident in India dismissed.
This is Michael’s first public comment on the case, which has attracted a lot of controversy, and essentially his attempt to clear his name.
Michael, as well as former CEO Travis Kalanick and Uber, have been sued by a woman who had been raped by an Uber driver and claimed the company violated her privacy, disclosed private facts and defamed her. She alleged that Uber misused a confidential medical file that was part of the case against the driver, including having internal discussions at the company about whether she was actually raped or not.
Recode wrote about this incident, although we noted that Michael was not the executive who obtained or mishandled the file or was part of the discussions about her rape. That was another executive, Eric Alexander, who worked for Michael and for Kalanick. The Recode report did note that Michael and other execs, including its top lawyer, did not act quickly to take the medical file from Alexander’s possession.
The woman previously settled a suit with the company over failing to maintain basic safety measures in 2015. The driver was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
In his dismissal filing, Michael argues that the plaintiff, named as Jane Doe for confidentiality, “has not met the burden of pleading sufficient facts on the three causes of action alleged against him, for: intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts, and defamation.”
He also passes the buck quite deftly to Uber:
“If access to medical evidence was arranged and authorized by Uber’s legal department, for example, there would be no basis to charge Mr. Michael with intentional, malicious, or highly offensive conduct. If other Uber employees (or former employees) spread defamatory rumors, there would be no basis to charge Mr. Michael with making those statements. In all of those situations, there would be no viable lawsuit against Mr. Michael.”
Here is the file, so you can read it yourself:
2017 10 16 (46) Motion.pdf
Recode – All