The battle continues.
Benchmark Capital punched back Thursday against a bid by ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to quash Benchmark’s credibility, escalating the conflict in what has become Silicon Valley’s preeminent drama.
Benchmark, an Uber board member that is suing Kalanick after removing him from the top job, said in a new court filing that Kalanick’s attorneys “do not dispute the overwhelming factual basis” that Kalanick defrauded Uber’s board and deems his defense to be “facile.”
“Nothing in Mr. Kalanick’s papers challenges the factual premises of Benchmark’s Complaint,” the venture capital firm’s legal team wrote. “Instead, Mr. Kalanick simply seeks to divert Benchmark’s claims into private arbitration, a move that should be rejected for the reasons set forth in Benchmark’s answering brief in opposition to Mr. Kalanick’s motion to dismiss.”
If the case is moved to arbitration, Kalanick would be able to avoid a deposition that could publicly weaken him and force him on the record. The Delaware Court of Chancery judge overseeing the case, Samuel Glassnock, said in a separate filing on Thursday that the first hearing on the arbitration request would be held in Georgetown, Delaware on Aug. 30.
Benchmark has also argued that they need immediate relief even as the case is being heard, a charge that Kalanick has disputed. Uber’s board, on which Kalanick sits, is currently trying to choose his successor as CEO.
“This measure is necessary to ensure the integrity of Uber’s Board’s decision-making, including the ongoing CEO search, where the new CEO must be approved by a majority of the Board; indeed, Mr. Kalanick does not seriously dispute that he has already interfered with that search,” the Benchmark attorneys wrote.
Kalanick’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.