Waymo has filed a request to compel Uber to release documents that it had demanded earlier concerning forensics consult Stroz Friedberg, and in the filing, the company cites an earlier quote from Uber that indicates its embattled engineer Anthony Levandowski admitted to the tech giant's higher-ups, including CEO Travis Kalanick, that he was in possession of data that belonged to Waymo. The documents in question consist of diligence reports from Friedberg, who was associated with both Uber and Otto at the time, in preparation for Uber's acquisition of Otto. Waymo also subpoenaed Friedberg himself in regards to the documents. All parties except Waymo moved to refute the original request and subpoena for their own reasons, and in the end, moved to quash it entirely. Waymo's new filing not only moves to compel the release of the documents but aims to refuse Uber's requested quashing, which would mean that the proceedings of the case could be revealed to third parties or even the public.
Levandowski asserted that the original request would have violated attorney-client privilege and Friedberg made the same assertion. Waymo's filing says that both parties are wrong because Friedberg was never Levandowski's personal attorney, making him a third party in the dispute, meaning that the rules on privileged information would change significantly. According to Levandowski, however, he and Friedberg were part of a joint defense team with Uber and Otto, which would essentially stretch the standard individual attorney-client privilege across all involved parties.
Waymo's filing calls back to comments Uber made that would indicate that the company knew about Levandowski's possession of privileged Google files all the way back in March of 2016, long before the acquisition of Otto. Essentially, this would indicate one of two things; that Uber was either okay with Levandowski bringing trade secrets from Google into the self-driving car project or that Levandowski falsely assured the company that he had disposed of the privileged files. Both cases do not bode well for either Uber or Levandowski; Waymo has already been granted a partial injunction against Uber's self-driving program, and Levandowski has been fired from Uber and banned from working with Lidar technologies going forward. Meanwhile, CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned amidst not only this case but allegations of wider issues pertaining to the company's supposedly predatory culture.