Former Uber CEO Kalanick replies to venture capital firm's lawsuit

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Aug. 18, 2017 at 10:52 AM
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Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick filed a reply in court to a fraud lawsuit brought by an investor.

Legal documents submitted Thursday by Kalanick in Delaware Chancery Court said a lawsuit by Benchmark Capital was initiated "as part of its public and personal attack" on him.

Benchmark was an early Uber investor. It sued Kalanick earlier in August, accusing him of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in his attempt to remain CEO of the company. Kalanick resigned in June following a number of high-profile scandals at the ride-sharing startup. He remains on Uber's board of directors.

In court documents, Kalanick says that Benchmark's demands are subject to mandatory arbitration, meaning the Delaware court has no jurisdiction to settle the issue. It adds that Benchmark took advantage of him while mourning the death of his mother from a boating accident, and that Benchmark's lawsuit came "at the most shameful of times, immediately after Kalanick experienced a horrible personal tragedy." Kalanick also contends that he did not voluntarily surrender three seats he controlled on Uber's board.

Kalanick's court documents also state that Benchmark did not raise any questions about his leadership until the lawsuit was filed. That statement challenges Benchmark's contention that investors were "fraudulently induced" to permit Kalanick's control of board seats.

Last week, some Benchmark investors asked the company to sell its Uber shares and remove its presence on the Uber board, saying the board's actions were "ethically dubious and critically, value-destructive rather than value-enhancing."

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