Judge Tells Uber Lawyer: 'It Looks Like You Covered This Up' – New York Times


The letter that triggered the trial to be delayed was written by a lawyer for Richard Jacobs, a former worker in Uber’s safety workforce, to Angela Padilla, the corporate’s deputy common counsel. Thirty-seven pages lengthy, it detailed an inventory of questionable conduct at Uber, together with spying on rivals and utilizing particular laptop computer computer systems and self-destructing messaging apps that might cover communications.

On Wednesday, Ms. Padilla testified that the letter, which has not been made public in its entirety, was “clearly extortionist” and crammed with “fantastical” info.

She stated Uber had deliberate to fireside Mr. Jacobs as a result of its safety group had caught him downloading delicate firm info to his private pc. Mr. Jacobs responded, Ms. Padilla stated, by sending an e mail to Travis Kalanick, the corporate’s chief government on the time, and others complaining of felony and unethical conduct inside Uber.

That e-mail to Mr. Kalanick additionally didn’t floor within the lengthy proof discovery course of between Waymo and Uber legal professionals, and was introduced in courtroom for the primary time on Wednesday.

After Mr. Jacobs left Uber, his lawyer despatched the 37-page letter to Ms. Padilla as a part of settlement negotiations in May. Ms. Padilla stated the corporate had not shared this letter with the authorized workforce dealing with the Waymo case as a result of Uber hadn’t needed to compromise an inner investigation into its claims.

Judge Alsup stated to Ms. Padilla that “on the surface, it looks like you covered this up” and tried to maintain the letter out of the palms of Waymo’s legal professionals.

The firm did share the letter from Mr. Jacobs’s lawyer with three totally different United States lawyer workplaces, as a result of Mr. Jacobs had threatened to take his claims to federal prosecutors and Uber needed to “take the air out of his extortionist balloon,” Ms. Padilla testified.

Nonetheless, Uber paid a $three million settlement to the lawyer who wrote the letter along with the $four.5 million paid to Mr. Jacobs. As a part of the deal, Mr. Jacobs was stored on as a safety marketing consultant, Ms. Padilla testified. His job: investigating the claims made within the letter his lawyer wrote.

Mr. Jacobs acquired $2 million up entrance and was to obtain $1 million unfold over 12 months and $1.5 million in inventory, additionally unfold out over 12 months. The deal included a so-referred to as clawback measure that might require him to return the cash if he mentioned his claims with outsiders, Ms. Padilla testified. But he was allowed to speak about it with the federal government within the case of an investigation.

On Wednesday, two present Uber safety staff denied most of the allegations within the 37-page letter and claims by Mr. Jacobs in his testimony on Tuesday. But they acknowledged that Uber staff used a so-referred to as ephemeral messaging app referred to as Wickr. Uber’s present chief government, Dara Khosrowshahi, famous the corporate’s use of Wickr in a tweet however stated Uber had stopped utilizing it.

Both safety staff additionally testified that Mr. Levandowski had used the messaging service, however that they didn’t know what he had used it for.

Judge Alsup questioned why Uber would pay a lot to an worker making bogus claims. “To someone like me, an ordinary mortal, and to ordinary mortals out there in the audience — people don’t pay that kind of money for B.S.,” the decide stated.

Uber’s rationale for the settlement: It would value much less to settle with him than to struggle him in courtroom. Also, Mr. Jacobs’s claims might harm Uber’s status, Ms. Padilla testified.

In a press release, an Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, stated: “Today’s hearing changed nothing about the facts of Waymo’s case, and did nothing to support their claims that Uber is using their alleged trade secrets. We look forward to our day in court and are as confident in the merits of our case as ever.”

A Waymo spokesman, Johnny Luu, stated in a press release: “Today’s revelations fit Uber’s pattern of destroying and withholding reams of evidence relevant to our trade secrets case, and that those at the very top of Uber were aware of these inexcusable practices. We look forward to the additional discovery granted by the court and to presenting our case in front of a jury at trial.”

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