against Levandowski centered on his employment agreement with Google, which included not holding confidential information and not engaging in “any other employment, occupation or consulting directly related to” any businesses Google was working on. Another contract covering Google’s acquisition of two of Levandowski’s companies stipulated that he would not try to “encourage, induce [or] solicit” any Google employee to leave the company.
Levandowski “had no choice but to file for bankruptcy to protect his rights as he pursues the relief he is legally entitled to,” said Neel Chatterjee, an attorney at Goodwin Procter who represents Levandowski.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Levandowski, once a star tech executive, was at the center of a high-profile
dispute between Google and Uber in 2017.
Waymo, previously known as Google’s self-driving car project, alleged that Levandowski downloaded thousands of confidential files to a personal hard drive before resigning from the company. Levandowski then launched a self-driving truck company, Otto, which Uber purchased in 2016.
Uber fired Levandowski in May 2017
after he failed to meet a deadline to comply with an internal investigation into the allegations raised by the Google lawsuit. Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving unit, settled the lawsuit in 2018.
“We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure our confidential information is protected as we build the world’s most experienced driver,” a spokesperson for Waymo said in a statement.
“This arbitration was not about trade secrets but about employees leaving Google for new opportunities and an engineer being used as a pawn by two tech giants,” Chatterjee said in a statement. “Google fought tooth and nail to take back every penny paid to Anthony for his multibillion dollar contributions and now Uber is refusing to indemnify Anthony despite explicitly agreeing to do so.”