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Waymo LLC v. Uber Techs., Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

January 29, 2018, Decided; January 30, 2018, Filed

No. C 17-00939 WHA

Opinion

OMNIBUS ORDER ON EXTENT TO WHICH ACCUSATIONS RE UBER'S LITIGATION MISCONDUCT MAY FEATURE AT TRIAL

INTRODUCTION

This lawsuit for trade secret misappropriation suffers from a deluge of accusations by plaintiff that defendants tossed out evidence and engaged in litigation misconduct. This [*8]  order addresses the extent to which the jury will be allowed to hear those accusations and the proof behind them.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Waymo LLC commenced this civil action on February 23, 2017. An order dated March 16 set a schedule for expedited discovery (Dkt. No. 61) and another order dated May 11 granted in part Waymo's motion for provisional relief (Dkt. No. 426). Waymo's case has since been reduced to claims against defendants Uber Technologies, Inc., and Ottomotto LLC (collectively, "Uber") for misappropriation of eight alleged trade secrets. The trial date has been continued twice and currently remains set for February 5.1

Waymo's imagination has not slept in conceiving of ways it has been wronged by Uber's alleged litigation misconduct. Over the course of this action, Waymo's complaints have provoked multiple motions, motions in limine, and various requests for relief. Various motions by both sides have already drawn rulings and those rulings remain operative even though only a few are cross-referenced herein. With the benefit of extensive briefing, multiple hearings, and a clear view of the full constellation of issues implicated by Waymo's grievances, this order now resolves [*9]  all remaining issues. Here follows a summary of the relevant events to date.

On June 21, 2017, Waymo moved for an order to show cause why Uber should not be held in contempt for three alleged violations of the expedited discovery and provisional relief orders (Dkt. No. 676-4). After briefing on that motion, on August 7, Waymo filed a supplemental brief to complain of yet another alleged violation of the expedited discovery order (Dkt. No. 1095). During the motion hearing on August 16, the undersigned judge explained that he was not inclined to hold anyone in contempt but would consider telling the jury about Uber's pertinent misconduct, if any, and asked Waymo to propose a non-argumentative instruction (see Dkt. No. 1261 at 26:21-27:21, 33:8-18, 45:5-9). On September 10, Waymo proposed an argumentative jury instruction along with a "corrected" supplemental brief that complained of yet three more alleged violations of prior orders and requested both remedial and adverse-inference instructions against Uber (Dkt. Nos. 1501-4, 1501-6). The argumentative jury instruction was unusable and will not be given at trial.2

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16020 *; 2018 WL 646701

WAYMO LLC, Plaintiff, v. UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; OTTOMOTTO LLC; and OTTO TRUCKING LLC, Defendants.

Prior History: Waymo LLC v. Uber Techs., Inc., 319 F.R.D. 284, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54662 (N.D. Cal., Apr. 10, 2017)

CORE TERMS

discovery, downloaded, provisional, spoliation, laptops, expedited, misappropriation, diligence, secrets, misconduct, acquisition, adverse-inference, cooperation, log, destruction, deleted, undersigned, email, destroyed, messages, contractual, contempt, conceal, foreseeable, misleading, technology, grievance, narrative, repeat, obstruction