Former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick on Thursday submitted a filing with the Delaware Chancery Court in regards to the lawsuit filed against him by Benchmark, a Mountain View, California-based investment firm which accused him of defrauding Uber's backers. In the document submitted by Mr. Kalanick's legal representatives, the co-founder of the ride-hailing giant asked for the competent judicial body to move the case to arbitration, labeling the lawsuit as "a personal attack" that's meant to smear his public image, claiming that every member of Uber's Board of Directors disapproves of the litigation despite the fact that Benchmark claims it's looking to protect the best interests of the company.
A Benchmark representative previously stated that its decision to sue Mr. Kalanick was far from easy, noting how the firm still ultimately deemed it necessary due to the fact that it's looking to condone and discourage Uber's corporate culture which it described as "utterly unacceptable." Benchmark is seeking to legally cancel the three board seats that Mr. Kalanick created in mid-2016 and effectively controls them to date. While two of them are presently empty, the third one is held by Mr. Kalanick himself, meaning that his hypothetical loss in the case would lead to him being completely ousted from the company. Benchmark already started its efforts to distance Uber's co-founder from the firm in late June when it co-instigated a request for him to resign his CEO position. The company is one of Uber's earliest and largest investors which currently holds 13 percent of the ride-hailing service provider, though another investor recently offered to buy out its stake.
If Mr. Kalanick is successful in his attempt to move the case to arbitration, he would be able to keep the upcoming legal battle away from the public spotlight, which he believes would prevent Benchmark from additionally smearing him. It's currently unclear if Benchmark has a realistic chance of winning its lawsuit as the case is still in the preliminary stage and no evidence of either side's claims has yet been provided. Uber itself is still in the process of searching for a new CEO, with recent reports indicating that the firm may decide on a candidate by late summer.