The allegations against Levandowski are the centerpiece of a trade secrets lawsuit that Waymo filed against Uber in February, a dispute that could threaten Uber's driverless vehicle ambitions not to mention its long term survival. "No. 425), entered in this action on May 11, 2017", the document stated on Thursday.
The search giant's self-driving automobile Waymo sued Uber accusing that the former Waymo executive and co-founder of Otto downloaded over 14,000 classified files before leaving Waymo to join Uber afterward.
Uber representatives could not immediately be reached for comment on Levandowski's filing, and a Waymo spokesman declined to comment. That startup, Otto, was acquired by Uber just months later.
Levandowksi became Uber's star engineer for driverless auto tech, but it seems that he didn't leave Google empty-handed. He has not denied taking the Waymo documents.
"In full view of the court, Waymo has presented strong evidence that Uber has stolen our trade secrets and used our confidential information", a Waymo representative said in a statement. The attorneys said the judge's order has made Uber believe it could be held in contempt if it continues to employ Mr. Levandowski while he refuses to cooperate. While Levandowski isn't a defendant in the suit, Uber says the dispute doesn't belong in court because the engineer's contract with Waymo contained a broad provision to resolve any disputes in arbitration.
"We understand that this letter requires you to turn over information wherever located, including but not limited to, your personal devices, and to waive any Fifth Amendment protection you may have", Yoo wrote.
"Until then, we insist that you do everything in your power to assist us in complying with the order", Yoo added.
Levandowski's continued employment at Uber has been a source of frustration for the judge presiding over Waymo's lawsuit, who has suggested several times to Uber's lawyers that Levandowski should be fired for pleading the Fifth instead of cooperating with the investigation.
"Nearly fifty years of Supreme Court precedent forbid the government from putting an individual to such an unconstitutionally coercive choice", Levandowski's lawyers wrote.
Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the trial, has also previously referred the case to the United States attorney's office for a potential criminal investigation.