A New Jersey man sued Uber on Thursday for negligence, fraud, and assault, among other accusations. In the lawsuit, Joseph Fusco claimed that he was "nearly beaten to death” after his driver refused to drive him from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to his home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, about nine miles away.
Uber has faced legal battles previously over alleged incidents of violence perpetrated by drivers against passengers.
According to the 34-page civil complaint, on the evening of December 22, 2016, Fusco was attending a private party at a Philadelphia sports bar with his colleagues from Allied Universal and other public safety officials from the University of Pennsylvania.
By 11:00pm, Fusco decided to go home, and called for an Uber, but seemingly did not put in his destination immediately. After the driver asked where he was going, Fusco replied: “Jersey.” When the driver responded: “I am not driving to New Jersey,” Fusco repeated his request a second time.
Fusco claimed: The Uber Driver then opened the door, exited the vehicle and walked around the back of the car. The Uber Driver then opened the front passenger door and dragged Plaintiff out of the front seat by his coat collar. The Uber Driver severely beat Plaintiff and left him in a pool of blood on the pavement in the freezing cold. The Uber Driver stomped and kicked Plaintiff in the face and head while he was already unconscious, which upon information and belief, is captured on surveillance video.
Fusco was eventually found unconscious by two bystanders, who called 911 and had him taken to a nearby hospital.
The complaint alleges that Uber has refused to provide authorities with relevant information of the driver as part of the investigation into this case. The lawsuit also claims that Uber makes a “deceitful pledge to rider safety,” by not adequately conducting background checks on its drivers, and by not fully cooperating with law enforcement.
Uber spokeswoman Sophie Schmidt told Ars that the company would not “comment on active litigation.” However, she did confirm that the rider reported the incident to the company on December 23, and added that the driver was “immediately removed.”
Schmidt also noted that the company had been in “ongoing contact with law enforcement since they reached out last month and are fully supporting their investigation,” but did not elaborate further.
Fusco’s attorney, Matthew Luber, did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.