Aug 18, 2017
Travis Kalanick strikes back against Benchmark lawsuit, calling it a 'public and personal attack'
Uber co-founder, former CEO and current board member Travis Kalanick fired back at Benchmark Capital in legal documents filed Thursday, arguing that the venture capital firm's lawsuit was initiated "as part of its public and personal attack" on him.
The legal filing, first spotted by Axios, also posits that Benchmark's claims are subject to mandatory arbitration, and that the Delaware Chancery Court, where the complaint was filed, doesn't have the jurisdiction to settle them.
We have reached out to Benchmark for comment.
Benchmark, which was an early investor in Uber and holds a position on the company's board of directors, sued Kalanick earlier this month, saying that he had committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in his efforts to maintain control at the company he helped create.
Kalanick resigned as CEO in June following a number of high-profile scandals at the ride-sharing startup.
Kalanick's legal team suggest that Benchmark's demands that he step down felt like an "ambush" following the death of his mother, and that "[Benchmark] executed its plan at the most shameful of times: immediately after Kalanick experienced a horrible personal tragedy."
The document further alleges that Benchmark didn't raise any of the claims it put forth in its lawsuit until it was filed, challenging the firm's claim that the investors felt "fraudulently induced" to giving Kalanick control of three board seats. The docs suggest the claims are a "fabrication articulated for the first time in its complaint" around 14 months after the amendment was signed.
The Uber board (sans Kalanick and Benchmark) issued a statement following the legal action, saying they were "disappointed" by the lawsuit. We've reached out to Uber for comment as well.
Last week, a group of vocal Uber investors asked Benchmark to sell off its shares and remove itself from the board, arguing that their actions were "ethically dubious and, critically, value-destructive rather than value enhancing."
by Lucas Matney