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Ex-Uber SVP Emil Michael files to get medical records mishandling case dismissed

Emil Michael, the former senior vice president of business at Uber, has filed a motion to get the lawsuit filed by the Delhi woman who was raped by an Uber driver back in December 2014, dismissed, reports Recode. Michael had quit Uber soon after the medical records mishandling case came to light. The case will be heard on December 1, 2017 in the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

Defendant (Emil) Michael seeks an order dismissing plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim because plaintiff has not met the burden of pleading sufficient facts on the three causes of action alleged against him, for: intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts, and defamation per se.

In regards to the three specific charges mentioned above, Michael’s dismissal filing has this to say:

(1) Intrusion into private affairs

Michael says that the lawsuit doesn’t allege that he had anything to do with obtaining the medical records. It only mentions Uber’s former APAC head Erik Alexander. “This does not state a claim against Mr. Michael, who had nothing to do with obtaining any records.”

(2) Public disclosure of private facts

The lawsuit also doesn’t allege that Michael had “ever disclosed anything publicly about the plaintiff. The sole “public” disclosure was by anonymous “sources” to a technology news site, years later.” The lawsuit, however, does allege that Michael had “shown records relevant to legal action against his employer, and that he joined internal discussions with other employees about this evidence.”

(3) Defamation

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According to Michael, even if the allegation that Uber executives had speculated about a possible collusion between Jane Doe and a rival company with the objective of disrupting Uber’s business is accepted, the fact remains that it is simply speculation behind closed doors and nothing more. “Even accepting the allegation, private speculation about possible legal action cannot amount to a defamation claim. Further, private ‘speculation,’ by definition, is not a statement susceptible to being true or false; it is just that, speculation. The dismissal filing also mentions that “there is no cause of action for private, anonymous defamation.” And that “any public disclosure was made by those anonymous sources years later. If plaintiff suffered any harm, it is due to the acts of those secret sources.”

Read the entire dismissal filing here.

Timeline of the case

June 8, 2017: Eric Alexander, Uber’s president of business in the Asia Pacific, was fired after it came to light that he had obtained and held for about a year the medical records of the Delhi woman who was raped by an Uber driver. Alexander then shared the medical records with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Senior Vice President Emil Michael, and they collectively either spoke about the records or showed them to several other executives at the company.

June 16, 2017: The woman once again filed a lawsuit against Uber and three of its current and former senior management members: Travis Kalanick, Erik Alexander and Emil Michael. It had been mentioned in the lawsuit that the three senior management members at Uber had believed that the rape allegation in 2014 might have been part of a conspiracy hatched by a competing cab-hailing company in India to derail the company’s progress in the country.

Former CEO Travis Kalanick has been the one who has had to face the worst: He was essentially forced to step down as CEO, right after this. In any case, he had been on an indefinite extended leave of absence (partly because his mother died in a boating accident), plus the Uber board had recommended that his responsibilities should be reviewed and reallocated, following an internal probe. And then in August, venture capital firm Benchmark filed a lawsuit against him for breach of contract and fiduciary duty. The lawsuit alleged that Kalanick gained several board seats through “material misstatements and fraudulent concealment.”

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