Uber Wants 2nd Deposition Of Larry Page, Claims Obstruction

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Uber on Wednesday asked for another deposition of Google co-founder and Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, claiming that he and his lawyers obstructed the four-hour questioning session that they were previously forced to attend. In its request submitted to the competent court, the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing company claimed that Page and his legal team made a conscious effort to avoid answering questions that Uber deems are pertinent to the high-profile case that saw Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo accuse the company of trade secret theft. The former executive of both firms at the center of the case — Anthony Levandowski — allegedly downloaded a number of protected documents from his previous employer before leaving to found self-driving truck startup Otto which Uber acquired last summer, consequently gaining access to the documents, Alphabet claims. Uber argues that none of its engineers save for Levandowski ever saw the said documents, claiming that the lawsuit is Alphabet’s attempt to slow down a rapidly growing competitor. Levandowski was laid off by Uber shortly after the case moved to trial.

As part of Uber’s main defense argument, the firm requested to depose Page, trying to prove that Levandowski downloaded the documents as his personal insurance, wanting to receive the $120 million bonus he was promised as Google’s division that was later spun off as Waymo was late with its payments. Uber was seeking to substantiate that argument by deposing Page who went on to claim ignorance on the vast majority of topics he was questioned on. According to the partially redacted court transcript, Page answered the questions from Uber’s attorneys with the phrase “I don’t recall” more than 40 times, frustrating the defendants in the process of doing so. Uber is now seeking to conduct a second questioning session with Page, though it’s currently unclear whether the court presiding over the case will allow it to do so.

Page repeatedly claimed that Waymo CEO John Krafcik was running the day-to-day operations at Alphabet’s autonomous driving unit, noting how he can’t even recall whether he ever called Levandowski to ask him about the stolen documents. Page provided the defendants with only several straightforward answers by confirming that Alphabet still has a stake in Uber and claiming that he technically didn’t authorize its lawsuit against the ride-hailing company, without clarifying on the matter.