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Woman who sued Uber over alleged rape in India withdraws lawsuit

Ride-hailing service condemned the attack but argued the company was not contractually related to the defendant and that California was the wrong place to file the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accused Uber of negligence, after a woman said she was raped by one of the ride-hailing service's drivers.

A woman who sued Uber after allegedly being raped by a driver for the ride-hailing service in India has voluntarily withdrawn her lawsuit, according to a court filing Tuesday.

The 26-year-old woman filed her lawsuit in January in the US, about a month after she was allegedly raped and assaulted while a passenger on an Uber ride in India's capital territory of New Delhi. Her lawsuit said the company failed to provide adequate safety protocols.

The woman's alleged attacker, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was quickly arrested and confessed to the crime one week later during interrogations, according to Dehli police. He is currently awaiting trial in India.

Uber makes a smartphone app that sidesteps taxicabs and provides a connection between people who want a ride and de facto cab drivers who pilot their own vehicles. Since its launch six years ago, the ride-hailing service has grown from a San Francisco-based startup into a multinational service in 295 cities and 55 countries. But with that rapid growth has come criticism about how the company handles safety. Over the past year, Uber has been dogged by allegations of drivers assaulting, raping and kidnapping passengers.

The alleged attack garnered international attention and prompted officials in Dehli to ban Uber for failing to have a proper license for its drivers. Uber, which had offered its service there for 15 months, has since returned to India's roads after applying to be considered a taxi company under Indian law.

Though Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called the crime "horrific" and said the company would do "everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice," the company argued in April that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the company had no relationship with the defendant and because the lawsuit could not be brought in the US.

"While the plaintiff undoubtedly can state a claim against her alleged assailant, she cannot state a claim against Uber US, which is the wrong party," Uber wrote in its motion, saying that Yadav was working for Uber BV, a Netherlands-based overseas operation. "Nor does California law govern a dispute involving an alleged wrong committed by one Indian citizen against another Indian citizen, in India."

Tuesday's filing with the US District Court for the Northern District of California did not state whether there were any terms involved with the withdrawal. Representatives for Uber and the alleged victim declined to comment.

In her original lawsuit, the alleged victim sought unspecified damages and for Uber to "overhaul" its safety measures. The woman detailed 13 separate safety measures she believes the company should adopt, including requiring drivers to install "tamper-proof" video cameras in their cars that would trigger an alarm if disabled.

In an effort to address passenger safety concerns, Uber in March introduced a handful of new initiatives designed to improve passenger and driver safety. The company announced the creation of a permanent global Safety Advisory Board to review the company's safety practices, and of Incident Response Teams in every region it operates in, to be on call 24 hours a day and investigate and respond to "serious safety concerns."

Uber has been adding safety features to its services over the last few months, including integrating a panic button to boost passenger security. Uber also inked a deal with India-based safety-tracking app SafetiPin to improve safety and security across New Delhi.

The issue of passenger safety has also led prosecutors in California to file a lawsuit against Uber that accuses the company of misleading consumers about their safety on the service and the quality of its driver background checks. District attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco charged that Uber's background checks failed to weed out 25 drivers with criminal records, including convictions for murder, assault, sex offenses and child abuse.