Uber investor challenged “fraud” by former CEO Travis Kalanick

In a Delaware complaint, Uber investor Benchmark Capital Partrners challenged “the fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and breaches of contractual obligations perpetrated by” former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick “to entrench himself on Uber’s Board of Directors and increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends.” The lawsuit focused in part on Kalanick’s “fraudulently obtain[ing] control” of three new seats on Uber’s boards through “his material misstatements and fraudulent concealment … of material information” that would have led Benchmark to reject the request.

Benchmark said Kalanick engaged in “gross mismanagement and other misconduct” which it summarizes as follows:

Kalanick’s personal involvement in causing Uber to acquire a self-driving vehicle start-up that, according to a confidential report not disclosed to Benchmark at the time (the “Stroz Report”), allegedly harbored trade secrets stolen from a competitor; an Uber executive’s alleged theft of the medical records of a woman who was raped by her Uber driver in India; a pervasive culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment that ultimately prompted an investigation by the former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and a host of other inappropriate and unethical directives issued by Kalanick.

Benchmark said Kalanick “knowingly concealed these matters from” it and other investors.

Benchmark explained its approach and its concerns in a letter to Uber employees.

In a statement, Kalanick replied: “I am disappointed and baffled by Benchmark’s hostile actions, which clearly are not in the best interests of Uber and its employees on whose behalf they claim to be acting.”

Kalanick moved to send the lawsuit to arbitration, avoiding a deposition that Recore said could have been “damaging.” On August 30, 2017, the Court agreed, ending the public litigation docket and putting all further proceedings in confidential arbitration.

Litigation docket