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Judge: Women Can Sue Uber Over Alleged Driver Sex Assaults

Eric Risberg / AP

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco.

Eric Risberg / AP

(AP) — A federal judge says two women who allege that Uber drivers sexually assaulted them, one in Boston and the other in South Carolina, can sue the ride-hailing company.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco says the women showed the possibility that the drivers were Uber employees who acted within the scope of their employment. That could be determined later.

Uber had argued that the drivers were independent contractors and at least one of them may not have used the Uber cellphone app before the alleged assault.

Illston also said in her Wednesday decision that the women could pursue punitive damages and a fraud claim against Uber.

The company declined to comment.