Image Credits: John Sommers II/Transport Tropics/modified by Bryce Durbin / Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license.
Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ordered Thursday that Uber needs to hand over to Waymo, by the end of the day, the full, unredacted term sheet between Uber and Otto. Corley ultimately decided there was no basis for Uber to redact the information because there was no privileged information shared with Otto prior to the acquisition.
“I don’t see any basis whatsoever for those redactions to be made and for that information to be withheld from Waymo,” Corley said.
Since Google’s Waymo self-driving car unit first sued Uber in February, Uber has also refused to turn over the due diligence report it conducted ahead of the Otto acquisition, arguing that it can’t be disclosed because it involves confidential information between attorneys and clients.
As the case approaches trial, Waymo has argued that there is likely information inside the due diligence report that could answer a lot of the questions Anthony Levandowski — the engineer accused of stealing self-driving car trade secrets from Google and using them at Uber — has refused to answer as a result of him exercising his Fifth Amendment rights. Waymo is asking to see this due diligence report, which includes an interview with Levandowski. But Uber is currently arguing that this is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Update 12:15pm PT: Waymo has argued that the due diligence report, which Waymo has not seen, probably shows that Uber knew about the theft. If the due diligence report does indeed mention the theft of the 14,000 documents in question, that would mean Uber had a duty to return them, Waymo argues. But Uber argues that this is Waymo’s burden to prove, and that Waymo would need to prove that Uber was engaged in planning a criminal scheme.
On Wednesday, Judge William Alsup issued a notice that essentially said that the privilege logs Levandowski provided to the court were garbage and did not provide any useful information.
“To give just one example, entire pages of the spreadsheet in response to RFP No. 3 consisted of line items that identified ‘document type’ as ‘loose e-mail attachment’ and were otherwise blank,” Alsup wrote. “Similarly, dozens of pages of the spreadsheet in response to RFP No. 1 appeared dedicated to email attachments identified only by email account, time stamp, and otherwise wholly non-descriptive information. It would be wrong to suggest that any of those ‘privilege log’ entries could justify any claim of privilege.”
By tomorrow, Levandowski must provide further disclosures because Alsup did not find the privilege logs he previously submitted were sufficient.
Quick context: On April 12, Alsup ordered Levandowski to provide logs justifying his assertion of the Fifth Amendment, saying that it should not be a long document and that he provide Waymo “enough of the argument so that they can respond.”
Last week, Uber notified Levandowski that he either needs to deny that he downloaded and took any documents from Google, or to hand over the documents to Google. Otherwise, he would be at risk of getting fired from Uber. Uber has already removed Levandowski from working on any projects related to LiDAR technology.
Levandowski’s lawyers argued that the court’s order to Uber, as well as Uber’s threat to Levandowski, would violate his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.
If you want more background around how the hell this whole thing started, be sure to check out TC’s ongoing coverage of the case here. I’ll be here all day, so be on the lookout for more updates.