back to article We go live to the Uber-Waymo court battle... You are not going to believe this. The judge certainly doesn't

Uber caught one of its employees trying to steal documents and save them to his personal computer. He resigned. And then Uber paid him $2m. And hired him back for a year as a consultant for $1m, offering a $1.5m end-of-contract payoff. And paid his lawyer $3m. If that sounds highly improbable to you, you are not alone. Judge …

  1. TDog

    Alsup!!!

    Followed this man every now and then since Groklaw. Most impressed with his nouse and dry comments. The only thing that does sometimes worry me is that if he is (as he seems to be) upholding the genuine tradition of integrity in the US legal system, then how many of the other buggers aren't - for far too much seems to end up awaiting the arbitrary chance of a supreme court hearing.

    Well in the USA you seem to get the law that you pay for far too often. And sometimes you think you paid for it and you get Alsup.

    Great man.

    1. Rob D.
      Thumb Up

      Re: Alsup!!!

      "I am going to wreck the holiday of all you lawyers, but you get paid too much money, I don't feel bad,"

      True. Got to like this guy as a judge.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Alsup!!!

        Yep, I loved that comment, too.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        ""I am going to wreck the holiday of all you lawyers,"

        I guess some lower ranked ones will work 16 hours a day during the holidays, and will have to report to the senior associates, who will be in some millionaire-only resort for the holidays...

  2. ma1010 Silver badge
    Alert

    Uber...

    Just when you think it can't get any worse for them, something like this happens. Uber is apparently a sinkhole of corruption with no bottom.

    I added popcorn to my shopping list because now I've got to sit back and see what new revelations happen next week.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Uber...

      Forget the shopping list... order it online and by the case. This will take awhile, I'm sure and should make for some entertaining reading.

      1. Sampler

        Re: Uber...

        Could get it delivered by UberEats...

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Uber...

        order it online and by the case

        I've ordered the "by conveyor belt from a tanker" option..

    2. Rob D.

      Re: Uber...

      Be interesting to see how much of an impact Khosrowshahi has on the general operation of Uber (their Wickr shutdown; even the business-friendly apology to London/TfL). Maybe not as interesting as this side show though!

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Uber...

      Uber is apparently a sinkhole of corruption with no bottom.

      To the top. The incident implicates the entire board. That would make for an interesting piece of evidence when Uber tries to prove that it is now a new company which is fit and proper to hold a Taxi license in London.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uber...

      Are there any other businesses that do what Uber do, except legally, and is there anything to stop anyone else from starting a non-corrupt version of such a business?

      1. Naselus

        Re: Uber...

        "Are there any other businesses that do what Uber do, except legally,"

        Lyft.

        "and is there anything to stop anyone else from starting a non-corrupt version of such a business?"

        Uber, and the fact that not following the rules makes it much easier for them to out-compete you.

        1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

          Re: Uber...

          They're cheating their asses off yet lost ~$1.5B in a QUARTER??? That's a $6B/year burn rate on cash - how is this going to become a sustainable business model?

          But who knows, maybe outside of the bribes, payoffs and penalties they are breaking even.

          1. Naselus

            Re: Uber...

            "how is this going to become a sustainable business model?"

            It's literally reliant on destroying all competition through blatantly anti-competitive behaviour and then leveraging the resulting complete monopoly power to turn a profit afterwards. That's their entire business plan.

            Research has shown that Uber is actually a less efficient way of delivering taxi services - in cost terms, Uber is more expensive to run than a traditional radio taxi operator and adds no additional value. On a level playing field, they would be out-competed by the 1960s business model in the space of a few months. Which is why you have constant shenanigans and this constant churn of enormous losses; the only possible way for Uber to make money is if all others offering a competing service are forced out of business first so they can jack up the price to match the actual costs.

    5. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Uber...

      so whats unexpected ? For years Merkin outsourcers PHB class decided what reality was and ordered the coalface peasants to believe. Uber is just another example on a more public scale of the unreality embraced by the 1% for about 2 decades.

  3. Michael Thibault

    All's up with Alsup?

    Devoutly to be wished, methinks. What has me wondering is what keeps this guy from laughing his ass off in the face of what's coming across the courtroom. Maybe Uber is trying to get him to bust a gut, in a bid to build a case for 'reasonable apprehension of bias'? That wouldn't surprise me.

    1. Steve Hersey

      Re: All's up with Alsup?

      ... build a case for 'reasonable apprehension of bias'?

      I seem to recall that SCO's lawyers tried that trick, and Alsup is certainly wise to it by now. He seems to have a bottomless reserve of cool, and the occasional decapitating strike of sarcasm stays within the limits. This IS going to be fun to watch; he'll grind them up using their own documents as the millstones.

      You simply cannot get away with blatantly hiding relevant material from discovery like that and just claiming "they didn't use their company name as a search term." I expect to see their lawyers stripped of attorney-client privilege and hauled into the dock themselves; the misconduct is just that extreme.

  4. veti Silver badge
    Coat

    "and find out many hours they billed, because a three million dollar payoff for writing a single letter is unconscionable."

    Too right. Shouldn't be more than $1 million, $1.2 million tops. Maybe $1.5 million if he had to get it reviewed by a senior partner. But that's it!

    1. handleoclast Silver badge
      Coat

      Shouldn't be more than $1 million, $1.2 million tops. Maybe $1.5 million if he had to get it reviewed by a senior partner. But that's it!

      The $3 million is because Uber's lawyers use surge pricing.

  5. Moosey
    Trollface

    Coming next from uber

    ...ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

  6. kain preacher Silver badge

    Breaking news . Uber caught bribing jurors.

    1. razorfishsl

      Breaking News...

      Uber Caught Tracking jurors and blocking pickup by uber vehicles.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    Uber really throws money at everything and everybody.

    Toxic place to work, but you can get out with a few millions more in your bank account. As long as they can find gullible investors.

    1. Naselus

      Re: Uber really throws money at everything and everybody.

      On the other hand, you really need to leave with a few million, since putting 'Uber' on your CV is pretty soon going to be as toxic as listing the Islamic State as your previous employer.

  8. ukgnome Silver badge

    So I have this idea to pitch to Netflix

    OK - so I have this idea for a situation comedy.....it's about a private hire taxi firm....

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: So I have this idea to pitch to Netflix

      Netflix have shown stranger things so I suppose you're in with a chance.

      1. Sirius Lee

        Re: So I have this idea to pitch to Netflix

        Good one!

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: So I have this idea to pitch to Netflix

      Carry On Cabby

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So I have this idea to pitch to Netflix

        Carry On Cabby

        Definitely. The "Lactating" execs is right out of there (*). It is not in the spirit, but to the letter of the "Carry On" series.

        (*)Apparently some of the previous crop of Uber execs put the room reserved for ladies to feed their little ones as a place to meditate

  9. Spudley

    The difficulty for Uber here is that this trial is a civil case. Which means that the level of proof required for Waymo to win is simply "the balance of probabilities", rather than "beyond reasonable doubt" as it would be for a criminal trial.

    The balance of probabilities has always been difficult for them; Waymo have presented a fairly compelling case from day one; but Uber have at least been able to sow enough doubt over time that there's always been a chance they could win.

    But that chance must surely be getting pretty slim by now.

    The thing is, this case isn't just a law suit where they stand to have to pay money if they lose; the entire future of the company is in jeopardy here. If Waymo win, they could basically force Uber out of the self-driving car industry, which would likely sink them entirely given how much cash they've thrown at it. And whoever wins, the stakes are so high you can be sure that it'll go through multiple levels of appeal spanning years and costing millions.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      And if there's a stupidly huge judgement against them, then they'll probably get it down on appeal, after five year. But in the meantime it really puts the mockers on the IPO that the investors need to get their money back.

      Unless Uber manages to ever make a profit... Tee hee. Only joking.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      "which would likely sink them entirely given how much cash they've thrown at it."

      We can only hope!

  10. Bob Dole (tm)
    Mushroom

    Just wow

    I don’t think I’d want any money invested in Uber right now. They are going down hard.

    1. razorfishsl

      Re: Just wow

      Yes all their investors are moving to Bit coin.... less of a risk and a higher return.

  11. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    But your honour, we're just a VC backed disruptor. It is our duty to . <throws open briefcase at Waymo's lawyers> disrupt all the conventions <throws pitcher of water at court clerk> in all our interactions! <tears off shirt and tie, jumps on desk and turns up "Patricia the stripper" on Itunes, dancing suggestively.>

    /sarc

    (closing statments by Ubers lawyers?)

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