Uber settles defamation lawsuit filed by Indian rape victim

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Shiv Kumar Yadav is escorted by police in India following his court appearance in New Delhi, 8 December 2014Image source, Getty Images
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Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was sentenced to life in prison over the rape

Uber has agreed to settle a US civil lawsuit with a woman who accused its executives of improperly obtaining her medical records after she was raped by a driver in India.

The lawsuit, which follows on from a crime committed in 2014, cited media reports where officials at the firm were said to have doubted her account.

The Indian woman was living in the US when she filed the lawsuit.

The Uber driver was sentenced to life in prison for the rape in 2015.

In December 2014, the 26-year-old Delhi woman, who later moved to Texas, filed a case anonymously in which she said she had been kidnapped and raped by Shiv Kumar Yadav.

She had used the Uber smartphone app to book a taxi home but said she had been taken by Yadav to a secluded area and raped.

Yadav was sentenced to life in prison following a criminal case in India. As well as the court case, the woman sued Uber and settled out of court.

She alleged in the lawsuit that Uber had violated her privacy and defamed her character.

The lawsuit, which was settled in San Francisco where Uber has its headquarters, also said the company had kept a copy of the woman's medical records.

Several media reports cited in the lawsuit said that senior staff at the ride-hailing company, including Travis Kalanick, the former Uber chief executive who was ousted in June this year, and former executives Emil Michael and Eric Alexander, had questioned the victim's account of her ordeal.

"Uber executives duplicitously and publicly decried the rape, expressing sympathy for the plaintiff, and shock and regret at the violent attack, while privately speculating, as outlandish as it is, that she had colluded with a rival company to harm Uber's business," the lawsuit said.

At the time the later lawsuit was filed, an Uber spokesperson said: "No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and we're truly sorry that she's had to relive it over the last few weeks."

The plaintiff dropped Emil Michael from her complaint in October before settling the case.

Terms of the latest settlement have not been disclosed.

It comes as the new CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, is trying to clean up the image of the company, which has been plagued by scandals and lawsuits.