Man Sues Uber For Getting Caught Cheating On His Wife

A Frenchman is suing Uber for up to $48 million because he believes a glitch in Uber’s app caused his wife to catch him cheating, and eventually lead to their divorce. Per BBC:

The man says he once requested an Uber driver from his wife’s phone.

Despite logging off, the application continued to send notifications to her iPhone afterwards, revealing his travel history and arousing her suspicions.

The couple have since divorced. The lawsuit is reportedly worth up to €45m ($48m; £38m).

“My client was the victim of a bug in an application,” his lawyer David-André Darmon told AFP news agency after the case was lodged at a court in Grasse.

Goodness…

Obviously this guy is trying to cash in on something that’s entirely his own fault (if you don’t want to get caught cheating, don’t cheat). At the same time, as much as I hate to even think about it, perhaps there is some merit to his case (not logically, but legally)? Presumably he’s viewing this as a privacy breach, and if the app indeed wasn’t working the way it was supposed to, and if this is what lead his wife to find out, I can see how there maybe might be just a little merit to his case (as much as it kills me to think that’s true).

Of course that doesn’t change the ridiculousness of all this, and the amount.

To any lawyers out there — is there any merit to this case from a privacy standpoint, or is this pure ridiculousness?

(Tip of the hat to Pizza in Motion)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. It’ll get thrown out because there is no intent by the Defendant. The Plaintiff’s complaint are “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, [which] do not suffice. Twombly, 550 U. S. 555 (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 490 F. 3d 143).

  2. €48 million in a French court!? Hahahahahaha …

    That’s not how the French system works. There are no punitive damages in France and you can only claim compensatory damages. I doubt that his moral and pecuniary harm is anywhere close to €48 million. Not to mention, that it is probably uncertain, that he can establish causality between the damage (i.e. being divorced) and the actions of Uber (i.e. the supposed glitch).

    In other words, he will need to prove a) that he suffered some sort of prejudice, b) that Uber committed some sort of wrong-doing and c) that the prejudice resulted from that wrong-doing. I doubt that Uber can be blamed for a mere glitch. And even if they get blamed for the glitch, there’s still the problem of having to prove that the damage (i.e. the divorce and its financial consequences) were the result of the glitch. IMO the only one to blame is the cheating husband. The wife certainly didn’t divorce, because of a glitch in the Uber app, but because she had an unfaithful husband. And the glitch certainly didn’t make the husband unfaithful.

    And if the husband manages to prove all that, he’ll need to prove the extend of his damage. While the article mentions that he’s a businessman from Southern France and that the divorce will go into the millions, I’m not certain if he’ll be able to convince the judges charged with the case.

  3. Using his wife’s phone? I hardly see basis for a claim here. Now, if he used HIS phone and HIS account and somehow HER account was notified, then yes, I can see basis, but definitely not in this situation.

  4. Some people have just a lot of love to share. Its time we stopped demonizing “cheating” and started calling it “sharing love”.

  5. @Credit for once you made me laugh. As for the plaintiff – talk about an inability to accept responsibility for your actions. Hope it costs him a fortune in legal costs.

  6. In Europe, especially in France, privacy is taken a LOT more seriously than in the USA and I believe the courts will find Uber had some liability here. Google got into a ton of trouble trying to film street views because people were captured on screen without their permission. This case has merit if you take your USA focused viewpoint out of it.

  7. I understand Uber plans to call Scarlett Johansson as a witness, to explain to the court her recent statement that “monogamy is not natural”. 🙂

  8. He will win privacy grounds. If you take the divorce out of the equation merely look at the privacy angle you will see he has a solid case. He used a service on a computer. He logged out of said service. Said service continued to send notifications to the computer. There is definitely a privacy breach there, something taken very seriously in the EU.

  9. I’m a privacy lawyer (although I’m not from the EU). I think there is definitely some merit to his case, especially under EU privacy laws which are pretty strict. Assuming it was a bug and not just his own mistake in failing to log out, from that point forward the app was reporting his location to another person. That’s a disclosure of his personal data without his consent, which is prima facie a breach of the EC Data Protection Directive.

    Now, the fact that other person in this case was his wife and it resulted in him getting caught cheating makes his case much less sympathetic, than if it had been some random stranger. I doubt he will get much in the way of damages because of that – firstly, the damage he suffered seems to be a rather remote consequence of the actual breach, the disclosure of his personal data and, secondly, his own conduct contributed to the damage in a big way.

    Then again, this is France, where cheating on your wife is accepted conduct by politicians, so clearly they have different views on that sort of thing.

    At the least, it is a lesson to app developers: if your app collects personal data, it really has to be secure. You have no idea what dark secrets your users have that a bug could expose!

  10. Lets look at it this way. What if the app was used on a College computer and after logging out kept sending the person’s location to the computer and a stalker used the location to rape and kill a coed. Would the bug be bad then? If your answer is yes then it is yes in this case. The app was leaking location. It could have put the persons life in danger. Instead of filing for divorce the wife might have decided to surprise the lovers with a gun. And 48 million is probably what he is having to give his wife.

  11. Privacy? on information that he voluntarily gave the service provider to be able to deliver the service he requested? Hah. That it was his wife’s phone was his own mistake.

  12. I work in the IT industry and it’s 99.9999% he just forgot to logout….

    Users are the buggiest part of any software.

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