A federal circuit appeals judge ruled today that Uber must hand over the due diligence report it commissioned ahead of its acquisition of self-driving truck startup Otto. Alphabet’s self-driving car division Waymo will now be able to receive this key document, which Waymo has argued likely contains information pertinent to its allegations that one of its former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, stole thousands of files and brought them to Uber.
Throughout this case, Waymo has argued that there is likely information inside the due diligence report, which was prepared by legal firm Stroz Friedberg, that could answer a lot of the questions Levandowski has refused to answer as a result of him exercising his Fifth Amendment rights. Waymo has repeatedly asked to see this due diligence report, which includes an interview with Levandowski. But Uber has argued that it’s protected by attorney-client privilege.
Waymo has argued that the due diligence report probably shows that Uber knew about the theft. If the due diligence report does indeed mention the theft of the 14,000 documents in question, that would mean Uber had a duty to return them, Waymo has argued. Uber has argued that this is Waymo’s burden to prove, and that Waymo would need to prove that Uber was engaged in planning a criminal scheme.
The federal judge also denied Uber’s appeal to not send the case to arbitration. That means the trial will go on as planned beginning October 10.
I’ve reached out to Uber and Waymo and will update this story when I hear back.
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