Uber’s major shareholder Benchmark Capital first filed a lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick a week ago. They followed up days later with a letter to employees explaining why the firm was taking legal action to boot Kalanick off the company’s board.
Now the cofounder is finally firing back.
Last night, Kalanick submitted court filings that characterize the lawsuit as a “public and personal attack.”
Benchmark claims Kalanick—who is still involved in Uber’s day-to-day operations—is impeding the company’s search for a new CEO, thereby breaching his contract and fiduciary duty.
Kalanick didn’t like that. He responded with a court filing rejecting the Benchmark suit and calling for the dispute to be settled through arbitration.
Among other contentions, the filing details Benchmark’s “ambush” on Kalanick to sign a letter of resignation while taking a personal leave of absence. In May, his mother was killed in a boating accident and his father critically injured. The court document says the plan to remove his power within the ride-sharing company happened at “the most shameful of times.”
“Not more than a week after having expressed ‘support’ for Kalanick as CEO, and a week and a half after his mother’s funeral, Benchmark sent its principals Peter Fenton and Matt Cohler to Kalanick’s hotel room in Chicago with a demand that he immediately resign as CEO,” the filing reads.
The filing also notes that Benchmark hasn’t demonstrated a threat of imminent irreparable harm to Uber, as Kalanick doesn’t control a majority of Uber’s board.
“It is, therefore, hard to imagine—without engaging in rank, impermissible speculation—how Kalanick might distrust “the sound management of uber,'” the filing states.
Although he resigned in June after accusations of sexual harassment, the former CEO remains on Uber’s board of directors.
Benchmark’s lawsuit has divided Uber investors as many on the company’s board continue to stand by Kalanick,