Uber Le Détective Privé Noveau

A modern legal battle has surfaced in France, long viewed as the most open minded culture in the areas of the heart, and of fidelity (or, more accurately, infidelity). It was undoubtedly just a matter of time. However the fact that this modern legal battle has erupted Europe may raise some eyebrows. It does show, however, that the cliché European View, in which a spouse would put up with the wandering eyes of their mate, is long dead. It also demonstrates that, thanks to Uber and an "application glitch", there is a new tool in the scorned spouse's arsenal.

Of what do I speak? A recently divorced Frenchman has made global news by suing Uber, the taxi-like ride application company for damages suffered as a result of his divorce. According to the suit, the man and his wife each used Uber. Due to a computer glitch, his UBER history appeared on his wife's phone, rather than his own. OOPS! The ride history revealed frequent trips to the same destination that did not look familiar to the wife. It was only a matter of time until the "other woman" was identified. Divorce followed.

The glitch has been confirmed by several news sources that have reported on the incident. The degree of culpability of the online transit company, however, is yet to be determined. Here in the United States we would raise issues about causation, intervening events, and release or waiver based on the language nobody reads when signing up for these services. In France, however, they have the Napoleonic Code, so who knows.

This case raises other issues about the roles of technology and glitches in our modern lives. Everybody has heard stories of accidentally transmitted sexts (sexual texts) or images. There have also been tales of Disney movies suddenly being replaced by pornography on satellite televisions. However, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Soon we will have life-like holographs and self-driving cars among us. What might happen then? Will a wayward spouse get in his or her car and say "Supermarket" but instead find themselves at a secret poker game location? Will a couple summon a holographic babysitter for their child, only to instead be met by a neurosurgeon's lifelike incarnation? As technology has become more common place in our lives, the glitches that come with them have become prevalent, newsworthy, and the source of lawsuits.

To some this is problematic or troublesome. To the lawyers it sounds like continued employment. Most are oblivious to the change as it occurs around them. Some however worry. Others recognize the problems, but like the upside probabilities. To them, it's just a factor of life. Although, I'm sure there is at least one Frenchmen to whom the phrase "C'est la vie", no longer has the same "je ne sais quoi" that it used to.


(c) Under analysis distribution, LLC. Under analysis is the syndicated offering of the Levison Group. Charles Kramer is a principal of the St Louis based law firm, Riezman Berger, PC. Comments about this column may be sent to the Levison Group c/o this newspaper or direct to comments@levisongroup.com

Published: Fri, Feb 24, 2017