Jane Doe No. 1 v. Uber Technologies, Inc.Annotate this Case
The instant appeal is from a judgment of dismissal following a successful demurrer by respondents Uber Technologies, Inc., Rasier-CA, LLC, and Rasier, LLC (collectively, the Uber entities) to a complaint filed against them by appellants, Jane Doe Nos. 1, 2, and 3 (collectively, the Jane Does). The Jane Does were abducted and then sexually assaulted by assailants who lured the Jane Does into their vehicles by posing as authorized drivers of the Uber entities’ ridesharing app. The complaint alleged the Uber business model created the risk that criminals would employ this scheme, then failed to protect potential victims from it. The trial court sustained the demurrer to the operative complaint and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.
The Second Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court reasoned that the Uber entities were not in a special relationship with the Jane Does that would give rise to a duty to protect the Jane Does against third-party assaults, or to warn them about the same. The complaint thus did not allege actionable nonfeasance. Nor does the complaint allege actionable misfeasance. Although it is foreseeable that third parties could abuse the platform in this way, such crime must be a “necessary component” of the Uber app or the Uber entities’ actions in order for the Uber entities to be held liable, absent a special relationship between the parties. The trial court correctly concluded that the Uber entities cannot be held liable for causing or contributing to the Jane Does’ harm.