It’s been clear from the beginning that it would be a long road to a resolution in the salacious lawsuit brought against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by one of its female partners, Ellen Pao. And as of now, it will continue to play out in the courts, and not behind closed doors.
This morning, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn ruled that Ellen Pao, the Kleiner Perkins partner who is suing the venerated Silicon Valley venture capital firm for the alleged gender discrimination and retaliation she says she encountered after complaining about sexual harassment and other purported issues at the firm, is not contractually obligated to settle her claims through arbitration as Kleiner Perkins has argued. This ruling, which has been widely expected, means that the case can move forward in the court system.
Pao’s lawyers reportedly expressed satisfaction with the ruling, while Kleiner Perkins has vowed to appeal. The firm issued this statement shortly after Judge Kahn’s ruling:
KPCB is disappointed in Judge Kahn’s decision and intends to file an appeal believing it has strong arguments and precedent to move the matter to arbitration. Ms. Pao, like other partners, signed a variety of standard agreements and it is these agreements with the managing LLCs that govern her claims and require, among other things, that disputes be resolved through arbitration. We expect arbitration to be a more efficient and speedier dispute resolution process than trying a matter before a jury years down the line in the San Francisco Superior Court.
Here are other TechCrunch posts regarding the Ellen Pao/Kleiner Perkins suit:
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) is a well known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, due in large part to their past success. They were early investors in many significant companies, including Amazon, AOL, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Macromedia, Netscape, Segway, and Sun Microsystems. The name of the firm comes from the four founding partners: Eugene Kleiner, Tom Perkins, Frank J. Caufield, and Brook Byers. In March 2008, KPCB announced the iFund, a $100M investment initiative focused on ideas...
Ellen Pao joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2005. Prior to KPCB, Ellen held various operating roles at BEA, including head of business development for products, site manager for new mobile products, and lead for new engineering efforts in India. She also served in corporate development, leading strategic projects for the CEO and M&A transactions. Prior to BEA, Ellen focused on business development and closed technology licensing deals for Tellme Networks and Microsoft’s WebTV division. She also served as...