Alphabet’s attorneys have been instructed to tell Google co-founder Sergey Brin “to show up” for a deposition in the company’s lawsuit against Uber. Alphabet is suing the ride-hail company for misappropriation of trade secrets, alleging former Alphabet employee Anthony Levandowski stole documents to bring them to Uber.
Earlier this month, the ride-hail company was granted the right to depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page along with permission to question company chief legal counselor and former Uber board member David Drummond.
In a hearing on Wednesday in San Francisco, Judge William Alsup told Alphabet’s attorneys to “go back and tell [Brin] he better show up.”
Uber requested Brin’s deposition from Alphabet last week, according to a spokesperson, but the company refused. The ride-hail company claims Brin may have specific information about circumstances around Levandowski’s departure from Alphabet in addition to its policies on employees conducting side projects.
It’s the ride-hail player’s attempt to discern Levandowski’s motivation for allegedly downloading these files from Alphabet. Uber has previously argued that Levandowski may have downloaded these files as leverage to receive bonus payments he was promised. The ride-hail company is claiming Alphabet was not paying them out on time.
In a letter dated June 30, Alphabet sought a protective order against the deposition of Brin saying he does not have unique knowledge of Levandowski’s departure from the company or its self-driving division’s policies on employees conducting side projects.
Alphabet says there are more than a dozen other people who may have similar knowledge of both of these things.
“Obviously other witnesses — and even Uber — have knowledge about these issues, and indeed dozens of the more than seventy-five witnesses disclosed on Uber’s Initial Disclosures are identified as having similar or identical knowledge,” Alphabet’s June 30 letter reads.
The hearing was focused on hashing out looming questions about what evidence or arguments can and cannot be submitted to a jury during the trial.
“There is definitely enough evidence to justify the question [of] when he downloaded the 14,000 [files] did he plan to use that at Uber,” Alsup said on Wednesday.
The judge also ruled the jury can use Levandowski’s decision not to testify against him.
It’ll play out something like this: Levandowski will take the stand. Alphabet will ask him things like whether he downloaded files from Alphabet and if he did so with the intention of bringing them to Uber. Levandowski will plead the fifth. The jury, then, gets to say that looks bad for Levandowski and hold it against him when making their decision.
But Alphabet wants to extend that assumption of guilt based on Levandowski’s assertion of the fifth amendment to Uber — a move that the ride-hail company has unsurprisingly opposed.
“It’s a separate question whether or not it’s adverse to other parties in the case and that’s for [the jury] to decide based on all the evidence [presented],” he said.
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick — who has retained his own attorneys — is scheduled to give his deposition tomorrow. In question, is whether Kalanick knew about Levandowski’s alleged possession of Alphabet files.
This is developing...
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.