Lawsuit claims Uber ignored attempted murder conviction of driver who later raped passenger

A passenger who says she was raped by an Uber driver in Kansas City has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that Uber ignored previous warnings that the driver was not fit to drive for the company.

The plaintiff, who is going by “Jane Doe,” says an Uber driver named Yahkhahnahn Ammi raped her on January 28, 2017, the lawsuit alleges. Doe originally met Ammi through the Uber app. After the initial ride, they exchanged numbers in an attempt to coordinate rides through Uber in the future. When Ammi picked Doe up the night he allegedly raped her, there was a failed attempt to coordinate the ride through Uber’s app, the lawsuit states.

Doe’s lawsuit against Uber alleges negligence, negligent hiring and retention, fraudulent concealment (“Uber has a duty to disclose to its riders relevant information regarding the dangerous proclivities of a driver with whom Uber is connecting its riders through the Uber App,” the lawsuit states), violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.

Doe reported the incident to the Kansas City Police Department, where there is an ongoing criminal investigation.

The lawsuit alleges that the driver in question, Ammi, had previously been convicted of attempted first-degree murder with intent to kill. After he served eight years of his 16-year sentence, Uber authorized the person to drive for the company, the lawsuit states.

After becoming a driver for Uber, this person allegedly assaulted an Uber rider in St. Louis. The rider proceeded to submit a “Serious Incident Report,” the lawsuit alleges. The incident report stated, “it is not safe to allow your riders to ride with him!!,’ according to the lawsuit.

Uber called the person who reported Ammi the following day, saying it would conduct an investigation, the lawsuit says. But a few weeks later, this driver was matched with “Jane Doe,” who is now suing Uber.

Uber’s background check requires drivers to have a criminal record that “does not include convictions for prior offenses specified by local law.” According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, background checks cannot include information that is more than seven years old, which is why Ammi’s crime did not appear on Uber’s background check.

TechCrunch has since confirmed Ammi has not had access to Uber’s app since March. 

Meanwhile, Uber is entrenched in a bevy of other lawsuits, including one involving someone who was raped in India, a couple regarding Uber being inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs and one around self-driving car technology.

“What’s reported in the complaint is deeply troubling and something we take extremely seriously,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “We are reviewing the litigation.”