Uber Executive invoked Fifth Amendment; company fired him

Accused of stealing driverless car technology from Google (his former employer), Uber executive Anthony Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify.

In response to Levandowski’s refusal to cooperate in Uber’s response to Google (Waymo) litigation alleging that Uber stole Google/Waymo secrets, Uber fired Levandowski.

In a letter to Levandowski, Uber terminated him for cause. Uber noted its requirement that he cooperate with the litigation, which he did not do. Uber also noted that his employment agreement warranted that he had returned or destroyed all property and confidential information from any prior employer, but said that Levandowski’s actions gave Uber grounds to allege breach of these commitments.

See also Uber’s May 15, 2017 letter to Levandowski demanding that he comply with a court order, waive his Fifth Amendment protections, and cooperate with Uber’s defense of Google’s lawsuit. See also Levandowski’s May 18, 2017 motion asking the court to modify its order to avoid compelling Levandowski to waive his Fifth Amendment rights.

Pittsburgh Mayor criticized Uber

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, previously an Uber zealot, told the Wall Street Journal that he had become disillusioned with the company. Peduto wanted Uber to give more back to the city, including hiring local talent, providing better work conditions for Uber’s drivers, improving fuel efficiency, expanding service to elderly residents, and supporting the city’s federal grant applications.

Google alleges Uber stole its autonomous car technologies

In a February 2017 lawsuit, Google alleged that Uber stole proprietary Google technology for autonomous cars. Google reported that Anthony Levandowski, an original member of Google’s self-driving car project, downloaded over 14,000 confidential files (9.7GB) pertaining to Google’s designs and testing, and used this information in Otto, a self-driving company that Uber later acquired. Complaint.

When Levandowski refused to testify or otherwise cooperate with litigation, invoking the Fifth Amendment to refuse to incriminate himself, Uber fired him.

Litigation brought by Benchmark Capital indicates that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick knew, before acquiring Otto, about the likelihood that Levandowski had Google materials. In particular, in March 2016, a month before Uber acquired Otto, Uber retained an investigator to assess whether Levandowski and others had Google materials. Benchmark Capital further alleges that Kalanick never shared this information with Uber investors.

Waymo v. Uber litigation docket