Former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick wants the lawsuit that Benchmark Capital filed against him over fraud moved to arbitration, according to a letter sent by one of his legal representatives to a competent court in Delaware, Michigan. As the lawsuit is largely based on Uber's voting agreement by the virtue of the fact that Benchmark Capital seeks to legally cancel three seats at the company's Board of Directors that Mr. Kalanick added in mid-2016, the case is also subject to an arbitration clause that's part of the same rulebook, the defendant's attorney argued. Since the complete contents of Uber's internal management policies aren't publicly available, it's currently unclear whether Mr. Kalanick's legal representatives presented a strong argument that the Delaware judge is likely to accept.
Moving the case to arbitration would keep the majority of its details away from reporters and the general public, consequently allowing Mr. Kalanick's attorneys to use trade secrets and a number of other sensitive information related to Uber as evidence aiding to his defense. Seeing how Benchmark Capital filed a regular lawsuit against Uber's ex-CEO, the investment firm is apparently seeking to avoid arbitration in a move that's similar to the one made by Alphabet's Waymo earlier this year when the self-driving unit sued Uber over alleged trade secret theft and successfully resisted the ride-hailing giant's attempts to transition the dispute into private arbitration.
Benchmark Capital is one of Uber's largest and earliest investors that accused Mr. Kalanick of breaking his fiduciary duty and acting against the firm's best interests by intentionally populating its board with loyalists and consequently maintaining a tight and informal grasp over the company he co-founded in 2009. While two out of three seats that the lawsuit is seeking to cancel are presently empty, the final one is held by Mr. Kalanick himself, meaning that the case could potentially completely oust him from Uber. Benchmark Capital was also one of the few investors that pressured Mr. Kalanick to resign his CEO position in June and was previously accused by his representatives as acting against Uber's interests. The company presently holds 13 percent of Uber and was recently proposed to sell its share to another investor loyal to Mr. Kalanick.