New details about Uber's investigation of man who sued it

Ca$h4

Well-Known Member
Uber obey the law? - Ha. More Uber legal sleeze - aaah, more Uber legal innovation that is. Ex-CIA cover blown.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/articl...orning10&utm_campaign=cnyb-morning10-20160706

July 5, 2016 6:50 p.m. Updated 07/06/2016
New details about Uber's investigation of man who sued it
Documents show a trail from Uber to Ergo, the business-intelligence firm whose investigator used a ruse to snoop on a plaintiff
By Matthew Flamm
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Photo: Bloomberg
Details emerge about a man who sued Uber.



A supposedly rogue investigation that Uber originally claimed it knew nothing about—and which could turn out to be a costly embarrassment for the ride-hailing giant—began with a 10-word request from the company’s general counsel.

“Could we find out a little more about this plaintiff?” Salle Yoo wrote to Uber’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, on Dec. 16, 2015.

That email and others documenting a trail from Uber to Ergo, the New York-based global intelligence firm that would ultimately field Yoo’s request, were revealed in a federal court filing last Friday. They were entered in support of a motion for relief brought by Connecticut conservationist Spencer Meyer—the mysterious plaintiff about whom Yoo inquired immediately after Meyer filed an antitrust class-action suit charging Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick with price fixing.

In the motion for relief, also filed Friday, Meyer and his lawyers added details to charges they made previously in court proceedings: Ergo, at Uber’s direction, set out to dig up information that could damage the plaintiff and his lawyer, Andrew Schmidt. Furthermore, they charge, the investigator, who was unlicensed, obtained information by misrepresenting himself to his interview subjects.

Emails also show that the investigator, Miguel Santos-Neves, was hardly a misguided employee, as Ergo and Uber have claimed, but instead worked closely with Ergo’s managing partner, former CIA official Todd Egeland.

“All the sources believe that I am profiling Meyer for a report on leading figures in conservation,” Santos-Neves wrote to Egeland after the Ergo executive suggested the investigator go back to his sources and look deeper for Meyer’s motivation in bringing the suit. “I think this cover could still protect us from any suspicion in the event that I ask” a question about the lawsuit.

In the report that was eventually provided to Uber, Ergo suggests that Schmidt could be leading the suit and using Meyer. It also highlights what could be the plaintiff’s biggest weakness in carrying on the suit and dealing with its “potential backlash.”

“Meyer may be particularly sensitive to any actions that tarnish his professional reputation, such as either being a witting 'tool' of his friend Schmidt’s, or looking to 'cash in' on the lawsuit,” the report stated, according to an excerpt in the filings. “Our research indicates that Meyer's preoccupation with his environmental career and reputation are the most important things to him professionally.”

Uber officials deposed by the plaintiff said they did not know how Ergo developed its information, according to transcripts in the filings. Legal experts say that might not be a good defense.

“The picture that is painted in plaintiff’s papers here is worrisome, because a lawyer should always know what their investigators are doing and how they are doing it,” said Michael Ramos, chief risk and compliance officer at Manhattan-based global investigative firm Nardello & Co. “If in-house counsel retained the investigators, then they arguably had a duty to supervise their work.”

Meyer and his team want reimbursement of legal costs incurred while Uber fought their requests for information, and they ask that a financial penalty be imposed on the company. They also want whatever the investigator dug up barred from use by Uber in the antitrust suit.

Judge Jed Rakoff, who is overseeing the antitrust suit in federal court in New York, ordered Uber to turn over the documents, ruling in early June that the technology company could not claim protection under attorney-client privilege. The plaintiff, he wrote, had provided enough reason to “suspect the perpetration of a fraud.”

Uber declined to comment Tuesday and Ergo did not respond immediately to a request for comment. According to a filing, Uber is due to give its response to the motion July 6. An oral argument is scheduled for federal court July 14.


 
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