The Uber executive who attempted to throw out the breach of contract lawsuit that Lyft, his previous employer, had filed against him lost the bid on Thursday, as ruled by a California state judge. The trial is scheduled to begin next month.
Travis VanderZanden worked for Lyft as Chief Operating Officer until August 2014. Lyft accused him of unfairly luring Lyft employees to jump ship with him to Uber back in 2014, as well as failing to swiftly return important Lyft “proprietary information”. VanerZander denied these accusations.
This Thursday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn declined VanderZanden’s appeal to overthrow the lawsuit without going to trial. The ruling is tentative, however, and Kahn mentioned that based on emails and texts from Vanderzanden, the jury could indeed conclude that he may have broken his trust with the company and failed to do his duties.
Tentative rulings aren’t new; California judges have issued these in the past. These rulings are confirmed after a hearing, with the possibility of significant changes.
Uber executive disagreement with Lyft
Lyft and VanderZanden representatives made no comments regarding the matter.
According to court filings, Uber executive Travis VanderZanden had a disagreement with Lyft leadership and talked to two board members with the prospect of taking over as chief executive. He was denied, causing VanderZanden to give his resignation letter. He later joined Lyft’s major competition Uber as Vice President of International Growth. Lyft filed the lawsuit in November 2014.
VanderZanden made the argument that California does not have a policy regarding “proprietary information.” As Lyft hasn’t specified any trade secret violation, for which there are laws, VanderZanden claims that he should automatically win the lawsuit.
The case in Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco is Lyft Inc vs. Travis VanderZanden, 14-542554.