Three days before Christmas, Cabrini College director of public safety Joseph Fusco attended a holiday party in University City, organized by the security company Allied Universal. He drank with his friends and colleagues, as one is apt to do at a holiday party, and around 11 p.m., he requested an Uber to his home in Cherry Hill. And that, he claims, is when his troubles began.
Fusco, 30, says he got into the Toyota Corolla that showed up near 39th and Market streets, sitting in the front passenger seat. Once the driver realized that the destination was all the way over in New Jersey — Uber drivers don’t know where they are taking you until they pick you up — Fusco says the driver refused to take him there. Fusco protested. Words were exchanged. And then the driver physically removed him from the car and assaulted him, according to allegations contained in a lawsuit just filed against Uber in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Fusco claims that the driver beat him, leaving him in a pool of blood on the ground, and then kicked and stomped him repeatedly while he laid there unconscious. After the driver left the scene, two bystanders allegedly came upon Fusco’s body and called 911. He was taken to nearby Presbyterian Hospital. According to a police report filed by the University of Pennsylvania Police Department, Fusco’s most serious injuries include a broken nose and a fractured left cheek, and two of his teeth were knocked out.
The lawsuit contends that Uber refused to provide police with the driver’s full name and other identifying information, but Uber claims that the company has been cooperating with investigators and that the suspect is no longer driving for Uber. (University of Pennsylvania police confirm that their investigation is ongoing but decline to comment on the case or Uber’s level of cooperation in it.)
To add insult to injury—literally—Fusco claims that the driver charged him for a 28-minute ride into North Philadelphia. To date, he says, he hasn’t been refunded.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” says Marlton-based attorney Matthew Luber, who is representing Fusco.
The suit accuses Uber of fraud, negligence, assault and battery, among other offenses, and seeks unspecified damages.
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