“Former Taco Bell Exec Sues Uber Driver He Attacked For $5 Million”

“The Taco Bell exec who got canned from his job after he was caught on video drunkenly attacking his Uber driver is suing the driver for $5 million. … The suit says that it’s against California state law to record someone without their consent.” A lawyer for Uber driver Edward Caban says plaintiff Benjamin Golden’s lawyer is incorrectly invoking the California law, which he says bans audio but not video recording. [LAist]

N.B. Note reader David C.’s advice in comments that the privacy suit appears to be a counterclaim to an existing lawsuit by the driver, always an important piece of context, and that the in-car tape recorded both audio and video of the incident.


  • A lawyer for Uber driver Edward Caban says plaintiff Benjamin Golden’s lawyer is incorrectly invoking the California law, which he says bans audio but not video recording.

    It’s not quite so clear-cut, since the apparently the video did have audio too. The driver’s lawyer argues that it’s not the audio that got the rider in trouble, but it seems like audio would help provide context for that video, and would allow Taco Bell to take action against the rider confident that there wasn’t something said that would somehow justify the attack.

    Also, this appears to be a counter-claim to the lawsuit the driver filed for being attacked, and isn’t just a lawsuit out of the blue.

    Not that this justifies the lawsuit. It shows a total lack of responsibility to say “my losses were caused by this tape getting out” and not “my losses were caused by my own actions”.

  • He should get another lawyer as there have been CA court rulings that conclude that video falls under the umbrella of the wire tapping law. He should focus on: 1) Their is no expectation of privacy in a public cab. Anyone nearby could easily see the cab and attack. 2) Was there a posting in the cab about the camera. 3) Security cameras are common in cabs. 4) His actions are what damaged him not the recording. 5) There is no statute against posting a video and if there was it would likely be unconstitutional.

    • Yeah, I’m thinking the expectation of privacy is gonna kill this counterclaim…

    • (5) there depends on how the wiretapping claim fares. The federal wiretap act (and most state analogues, I think including California’s) make knowing “use” or “disclosure” of unlawfuly recorded “oral communications” a separate offense. And recall the holding in Katz: Expectation of privacy in sound & visual data are considered separately, which is why a covert bug can still violate the REP of a person using a public pay phone in a clear glass booth. And with respect to that audio component, it seems strongly counterintuitive, to put it mildly, to claim people don’t have REP in the contents of conversations held in the interior of a cab.

      • Why not? There’s clearly a “third party” there. If you’re talking to your lawyer in the back of a cab, wouldn’t confidentiality be breached due to the cabbie being there?

        I find it hard to imagine that you would be able to make a claim of REP when you get into a vehicle that isn’t your own.

  • He would not have any complaint or alleged damages if he were not an a**hole in the first place. Streisand effect happening now, so he is creating yet again his own PR problem.
    If he really wants to move on with his life and rehabilitate his employment prospects, then best to settle quickly with the cabbie, and hope like hell that making amends makes the criminal charges go away or that sentence will be sealed once complete.
    But then sensible action does not seem to be one of his strong suits….

  • You have no right to privacy while committing a violent crime. It’s stupid to think you do.

  • The whole theory is questionable once you watch the exec’s apology he made in an interview with the news. He essentially admits the whole thing, in tears, saying over and over again that it is not like him to do something like that. He also claims to have no memory of the incident. So one has to wonder how he can provide any facts to support his new fangled claims. May be a candidate for an Anti-SLAPP motion.