Venture Capital Firm Formation 8 Dropped From Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Venture capital firm Formation 8 has been removed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in January against tech entrepreneur and investor Joe Lonsdale from a former girlfriend alleging sexual assault, battery, and other charges.

Lonsdale, who co-founded security and defense technology firm Palantir, is also a co-founder of Formation 8. He has vigorously denied all of Clougherty’s claims, and has characterized the suit as a “malicious campaign of lies.” He has countersued Clougherty for defamation.

Initially Formation 8 had been included as a defendant in the suit, which was first filed by plaintiff Elise Clougherty with the District Court in Northern California on January 27. Clougherty claimed that she had been an intern at Formation 8 during her relationship with Lonsdale, and that the firm was aware of the alleged abuse. The charge against Formation 8 was “negligent retention and supervision.”

However, on February 19, Formation 8’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss Formation 8 from the suit based on several factors, including an expiration of the two year statute of limitations between the stated time of the alleged abuse and the filing of the claim. The motion also said that she never informed the firm of any alleged abuse at any time up until the suit. Also, the firm’s representatives have said that Clougherty was never on file as an employee or intern for Formation 8.

On March 5, Clougherty’s legal team responded by removing Formation 8 from the suit. “Although Plaintiff contests the representations in the Formation Defendants’ motion, Plaintiff believes that the case should move forward only against Defendant Lonsdale,” the filing says.