Uber CEO Claims Venture Capital Lawsuit Against Him Should Go to Arbitration

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 18, 2017

Uber co-founder, former CEO and current board member Travis Kalanick fired back at Benchmark Capital in legal documents filed Thursday, arguing that the venture capital firm's lawsuit was initiated "as part of its public and personal attack" on him.

In a letter Monday to a DE judge, an attorney for Kalanick said Benchmark's claims are subject to a mandatory arbitration provision contained in the voting agreement that is the focus of the suit. Benchmark also sent a letter to employees yesterday attempting to explain why it sued Kalanick. Benchmark Partner Bill Gurley led an effort to oust Kalanick as CEO in June.

Benchmark said in the suit it would not have approved the board expansion had it been aware of the controversy surrounding Kalanick and Uber's workplace issues, accusing the CEO of packing the board with supporters.

Uber Technologies won a victory onThursday in its effort to keep unhappy customers from suing in court by persuading a USA federal appeals court to send a CT passenger's price-fixing case against the ride-service company into arbitration.

Kalanick's lawyer said in the letter that he plans to file documents opposing Benchmark's request to expedite its lawsuit and will also submit a request to dismiss the case or stay it in favor of arbitration.

On September 20th, a federal appeals court in San Francisco will hear arguments on whether some Uber drivers can recoup expenses and tips in a class action because they are employees, or must arbitrate their claims. He vowed to continue to work "tirelessly" with the company's board to identify and hire the next CEO. Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesman, didn't immediately return an email seeking comment. The case has stunned Silicon Valley's venture capital community and created a divided Uber board and infighting among shareholders, many of whom have criticized Benchmark for suing. Benchmark also said that Kalanick is interfering in the company's search for a new chief executive.

Uber has been under fire following allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the company. As Recode reported, Kalanick was telling people he planned to return to the company. Through May, the venture firm continued to support him.

As a result of the 2016 vote, Kalanick now has control over who is appointed to three Uber board seats.

Five of Uber's major investors forced Kalanick to step down in late June.

Kalanick's lawyers also object to Benchmark's request for a so-called "status quo" order that would temporarily bar the former CEO from filling two open Uber board seats, saying it was "drastic and unwarranted".

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