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Uber is going back to court once again.
The mother of a 13-year-old girl is suing Uber and one of its drivers after the driver was convicted of sexually assaulting the young girl.
The Disturbing Rides
Isagani A. Marin is a driver for Uber. Between October and November of last year, Marin drove a young girl (named Child Doe in the case) from her home to her middle school 10 to 20 times. According to the lawsuit, Marin made several inappropriate sexual comments, offered to buy the girl panties, and asked her to not get another boyfriend.
The disturbing interaction came to light after the girl reported Marin rubbing her inner thigh to her mother. The mother called police and Marin was arrested three months later. The prosecutor charged Marin with misdemeanor assault, and he pled guilty earlier this year.
Luckily for him, Marin only received a six-month suspended jail sentence. Had he been sentenced to the maximum penalty, Marin could have faced 12 months in jail. In addition to the suspended sentence, the court suspended Marin's driver's license for a month and banned him from having any contact with the victim.
The Civil Case
While Marin's criminal case is over, he'll soon be returning to court again, this time in civil court. This month, the Child Doe's mother filed a lawsuit suing Marin and Uber for her daughter's sexual assault.
The lawsuit accuses Uber of not properly screening and training Marin. The mother is claiming that Marin had several traffic offenses, including reckless driving, that Uber overlooked.
From the reported facts, it sounds like the victim's family is claiming negligent hiring against Uber.
Negligent hiring holds a company liable for its employee's criminal acts. To win such a claim, the plaintiffs would have to prove that the employer acted carelessly when hiring the employee, and such carelessness exposed its clients to harm.
Here, the plaintiff contends that Uber hired Marin without doing a proper background check on him. Also, Marin was convicted of reckless driving but was still hired to drive people around. Uber may argue that, even with the reckless driving convictions, nothing in Marin's background check indicated that he would sexually assault or target young girls.
The victim and family are asking for $2.4 million in damages.