New Uber lawsuit shines gentle on reporter/supply relationships – Axios

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Former Uber Southeast Asia govt Eric Alexander this week sued former Uber communications chief Rachel Whetstone (now at Netflix) for allegedly breaching a two-way non-disparagement settlement.

Why it issues: This case may remind potential media sources they’ve few authorized privateness protections.

The main points: Alexander’s criticism pertains to the 2014 rape of a feminine Uber passenger in India, and media studies that Alexander obtained the sufferer’s medical information and dealt with them improperly.

  • In his submitting, Alexander claims he acquired the paperwork legally from an Uber-retained India regulation agency (as a part of the general case file,) and on the request of Uber company.
  • He additionally believes Whetstone was a supply of the media studies, though she was not recognized within the studies and Alexander presents no particular proof.

Between the strains: There’s a lot of he-said/she-said stuff in the criticism, however let’s simply concentrate on the core declare and the case’s broader implications:

  • The concerned reporters (Recode’s Kara Swisher and Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomber) are coated by a media protect regulation in California, so neither can be required to reveal their sources.
  • However Rachel Whetstone would haven’t any such protections and, in idea, the decide may enable a plaintiff request for issues like telephone or e-mail information. Significantly if Alexander persuasively claims that it is the solely viable solution to uncover a core piece of potential proof.
  • Sources haven’t got authorized privateness protections, in keeping with a media lawyer who spoke with Axios. They’re virtually by no means sued as a result of it is extremely uncommon for a “violated” celebration to know a leaker’s id with any diploma of certainty, however theoretically it might probably occur.
  • Alexander’s choice to solely sue Whetstone — after reportedly contemplating a broader defendant class — seemingly speaks to his effort to reduce the looks of a fishing expedition.

Be good: That mentioned, even when Alexander can obtain Whetstone’s information — and even when they present she communicated with the reporters about him (sure, an enormous “if”) — he would nonetheless need to show that her feedback have been factually unfaithful.

Whetstone declined remark, and Alexander’s lawyer did not get again to me. Uber, which is not named as a defendant, additionally declined remark — together with on the query of if it did or did not ask Alexander to acquire the sufferer file — as did former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

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