Guy Who Violently Attacked Uber Driver Is Suing For $5 Million

File this under “only in America.”

In November I posted about the Uber driver in Newport Beach who was violently attacked by a passenger, and then ended up pepper spraying him. The guy was clearly drunk and belligerent, and the real confrontation started when the Uber driver pulled over to let the guy out, at which point he was attacked. The Uber driver pepper sprayed the passenger, and following the incident said he was looking for a new job, because he didn’t feel comfortable working for Uber anymore.

For those who never saw the video, here it is:

Well, there’s a follow up to this story, and it involves a lawsuit. A $5 million lawsuit filed by the passenger against the Uber driver he violently attacked. That’s right, the passenger is suing the Uber driver.

Via CNBC:

A former Taco Bell executive who was arrested and fired after a viral dash-cam video showed him attacking an Uber driver is now suing that driver for $5 million — saying the driver illegally recorded the violent incident.

Ousted exec Benjamin Golden, 32, also said in court papers that driver Edward Caban, is to blame for any injuries he suffered during their Oct. 30 encounter in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Golden’s civil cross-complaint cites the California penal code, which says a person cannot intentionally record a conversation with someone else “without the consent of all parties.”

Pilchman said that Caban, 23, seems to be “quite the opportunist,” and that “there’s very little truth to the damages that he claims,” which include post-traumatic stress and claims that he lives in fear after his violent confrontation with Golden.

“I don’t believe he has any of those,” she said.

Okay, so the passenger says that the driver is quite an opportunist with his claims of post-traumatic stress and living in fear. But the violent former Taco Bell executive is suing for the same thing — the suffering, severe emotional distress, anxiety, fear, etc.:

Golden furthers said in filings that because of the “overwhelming media coverage” of the video, Golden “has suffered severe emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, pain and suffering and the loss of his job.”

Bottom line

Only in the USA!

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just me, and I don’t know the full story to this, but it seems to be that the Uber driver was more or less intentionally being rude and for the lack of a better term, a dick. While I’m not exactly familiar with the policy and legality of him kicking out a pax, it seems that it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
    First of all, I hope we can all agree that the way the driver acted was in no way polite. And I’m sure that further irritated the pax. From the footage, I don’t see any evidence of the pax being disruptive, which if this is to happen on a plane, the captain would have no basis to kick him out. Without knowing exactly what happened leading up to that, or the policy at Uber regarding kicking off a pax, it seems to me that the driver was particularly unfriendly in kicking off a pax without prior attempts to mediate the situation. Imagine if this had happened in a deserted area. The pax would’ve been left in middle of nowhere, and I personally don’t think that is fair considering he didn’t seem to have caused any sort of disruption.
    None of the above is to being justification to the passenger for attacking the driver, but nonetheless, I don’t think the driver in this case had in any way helped

  2. Yowch! I would totally have been unable to restrain myself – I’d have given that guy some good sprays, then punched him flatter than a pancake. That is one headache in the making. (For the driver)

  3. Jonathan, you must be kidding right? I’m from Newport Beach. it’s as safe and peaceful as it gets around here, even in Costa Mesa, a nextdoor town that is slightly less affluent.

    there is no danger in letting out the passenger anywhere in this area. If driving an Uber is your job, and you have a passanger, like any establish you, as the owner of your vehicle, have the right to refuse service to anyone.

    should the drive continued, without an address, and the driver was wandering aimlessly to the passenger’s terrible directions, the passenger the following morning could have gotten money back from the Uber driver not taking the most efficient or direct route, putting the uber driver at a loss due to a passenger’s incoherence.

    it is because of incidents like this that cameras should be placed in vehicles. mind you, the uber driver is driving his own car. you are entering his personal vehicle. he can have whatever devices in the car as he pleases.

  4. Jonathan – did we watch the same video? The pax was clearly drunk, not giving clear directions, just swearing at the driver and randomly telling him to go straight on, then turnaround, etc. The driver seemed perfectly polite to me although clearly after the altercation with some adrenaline running got a bit wound up. I find it depressing that the pax has such little insight into his behaviour and I really hope a court would throw the claim out.

  5. > Maybe it’s just me

    > First of all, I hope we can all agree that the way the driver acted was in no way polite

    Yes, yes it is just you. No, we won’t agree.

  6. Just like the scum lawyer that is even helping in this lawsuit there are those that will still defend an alcoholic drunk, a disgrace of the scum there is. Maybe when a alcoholic beats his girls and she screams you would explain how she was screaming and annoying him.

    Jonathan ? Think before you defend such a disgrace or maybe it is a friend of yours.

  7. Oops — apparently I posted a comment with the same name as the previous poster.
    The second Jonathan — call him Jonathan R.
    The first Jonathan — don’t know what his surname is…

  8. Full disclosure, this just came to mind as I come to think about it…I did skip the first 1:20 or so…to the part where the driver turns his camera around. I think this is probably why I couldn’t get my head around the reason why the pax was so disliked.

    Apologies for any confusion

  9. Jonathan tried so hard to caveat that he wasn’t defending the passenger…but then writes 3 paragraphs essentially defending the passenger. Bravo.

  10. It is a violation (Penal Code 632 I believe) to record anyone or even easedrop without consent/informing them they are being recorded. It is a $5000 per incident/recording civil penalty. Do not record voices of anyone without advising them that they are being recorded in California. Of course the passenger was drunk off their A** and could not stay seated and I would have terminated the ride if I were the driver… $5,000,000 claim a bit far fetched.

  11. Sadly it probably is illegal to take the video (as Marriott Marty has quoted).

    That said, clearly the aggressor of the situation was the passenger. He escalated the situation to violence. There is no question to that, and he should be held responsible.

    Comparing the two criminals, I personally would feel much more moral and honest in condeming the passengers actions.

    My suggestion are that the driver counter sue for damages. Although it may just be another display of ineffective justice, perhaps both cases will be thrown out.

    Uber – put a notice in the app advising that rides may be recorded. Help protect your drivers. Also, this would be a good time to assist in the drivers defence.

  12. I have a hard time deciding who is a more deplorable human being.. the first Jonathan or the Pilchman POS lawyer.. She must be an expert defeding drug dealers, corrupt politicians and that kind of scum.

  13. @Owen- really? Not sure what planet you come from where you are expected to ride shotgun with the driver if you are the only passenger. I think the only difference between taxi and uber in terms of social norms is that you are expected to be a little chattier with an uber driver than a taxi driver – fine by me, most have pretty interesting stories. While I have ridden shotgun as the only passenger, it has only been when the driver has offered/suggested. Moreover I think it’s safer for the passenger and driver if you sit in the back.

  14. So persons robbing convenience stores in California or banks, or committing crimes in California that are recorded can sue. What a ridiculous situation. under this logic, the police need to take down their security cams as they are illegally recording people in California without their consent. These types of laws are crazy to begin with and if this executive wins his lawsuit, it only becomes more ridiculous.

  15. The driver had every right to kick the guy out of his car. The drunk guy’s actions were disgusting and I hope the driver gets compensated somehow.

  16. the guy should not have hit the driver. he has anger management issue for sure.
    but the driver seemed to be escalating the issue if not instigating. the passenger was willing to start a new trip. had the driver oblige, it may not have ended this way.
    if i was the diver, i would not have thrown a dead drunk passenger out like that.

  17. uber does not care about drivers. they take 25% commision now,over previous 20% of new drivers pay and still do not give an option to tip at the end of the ride like lyft does. lyft is only a little better. i drive for both.

  18. This drunk guy is clearly innocent. He did the right thing by riding Uber and not driving. This man is a hero. I think he should be awarded the $5 million dollars for mistreatment by the driver. He should also return to employment at Taco Bell because drunk people understand what eating Taco Bell is like. This incident is clearly the drivers fault. See you in court.

  19. I guess the wisest thing to do would be to get a lawyer and countersue for the damage caused by the passenger to the driver. Not sure how successful that would be; at best, the driver is already on the hook for recording without consent, but proving the damages of assault on the part of the passenger may not be so easy, especially if the video evidence which is supposed to be “illegally” captured is completely disqualified in court (i.e. if the evidence was obtained illegally, it can’t be used as evidence, therefore the burden of proof falls purely back on my word against yours, or it didn’t happen).

    Also, I don’t know if lawyers have any duty of what not… I’d imagine if someone thinks they have a case to file, no matter how stupid it may be (or how much it has been plastered all over the news, possibly leading to prejudice), as long as the lawyer gets paid, then what lawyer would say no…

    This is ridiculous. How you Americans can be proud of your country’s legal system when things like this can happen is amazing.

  20. @ Mike: You can record images but not voices. That’s why most security camera footage you see is silent.

  21. ok. The driver is wrong recording without consent, he is guilty with $1 fine. The passenger is guilty with his ass%$%^ behavior plus beating the driver up, harmful to others, he is guilty with $10000 fine to the driver.

  22. @Marriott Marty

    Video recording is NOT illegal, it’s the actual audio recording that falls under the 2 party consent laws. That being said, the camera originally recorded the traffic view. Therefore, IMO then the related audio recording is just ambient noise..and is not subject to 2 party consent, as there was no intention to entrap, extort this or any other passenger.

    It just so happens, it captures the passenger being a drunken, moronic, violent dick.

    The fact that he can’t take his comeuppance makes him even more of dick; and worthy of all the INTERNET fury that is going to come his way.

  23. The driver’s automobile is his own private property. Uber does not provide vehicles to their drivers. It is not illegal to film or record inside of your own private property, therefor the driver had every right to set up a camera inside of his automobile and record any interaction happening without the consent of any party. This is federal law protected under the US Constitution 1st amendment, so California penal code is irrelevant. Hopefully the driver applies that in court.

  24. I don’t know what it’s like with Uber, but I know that Lyft already has the passengers route mapped out on the apps gps… it’s done before hand when they pay by credit card – so you know exactly where you are taking the passenger – why wouldn’t Uber have this ? I don’t understand… this whole incident could have been avoided..

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