The on-going case between Uber and Alphabet has taken a turn for the worse for the ride hailing firm.
The lawsuit sees former Waymo (Alphabet’s self-driving firm) employee – Anthony Levandowski – accused of downloading 14 000 files and giving them to Uber.
Uber had planned to present the act as Levandowski securing his bonus payment and that the firm has never used any of the downloaded files.
That would have been a pretty solid defense except that the judge has ruled that Uber cannot present it.
The reason? Well Levandowski revealed this information to former chief executive officer Travis Kalanick in a conversation where Uber’s assistant general counsel Angela Padilla was present. Simply put, the conversation was privileged.
While Uber argues that Padilla wasn’t there to provide legal counsel and therefore the conversation was not privileged Judge William Alsup disagrees.
“Uber has indulged in the slick practice of including its lawyers in meetings and communications and deciding after the fact if a lawyer was actually included for the purpose of providing legal advice, all in accordance with what happens to be convenient for Uber’s case,” reads the judge’s order.
The judge goes on to say that had the contents of the meeting been detrimental to Uber, the firm would have been quick to conceal information behind a wall of privilege.
Meanwhile, Recode reports that Waymo/Alphabet disputes Levandowski’s claims that he was trying to secure a bonus saying he was paid before the files were downloaded.
“The extreme measures he took to try to erase the digital fingerprints of his actions completely belie any benign motive,” said a Waymo spokesperson.[Image – CC BY 2.0 psyberartist]