Uber is in even hotter water than usual. This time it's because the company appears to have concealed information pertaining to its legal battle with Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Alphabet (née Google). In a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup pronounced, "I can no longer trust the words of the lawyers for Uber in this case," according to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac. Alsup has postponed until the latest revelations can be sorted out.

The bombshells largely come via fired Uber employee Richard Jacobs, who testified on Tuesday. Jacobs described a secretive internal team that worked to illicitly acquire the intellectual assets of other companies -- which is exactly what Waymo has accused Uber of doing. Jacobs also referenced the use of encrypted messaging apps, which were sometimes explicitly meant to evade legal discovery.

Making matters worse, Jacobs outlined a practice similar to redlining, which the company has repeatedly denied in the past. In fact, one of the claims Uber has made to being superior to taxis is that it doesn't discriminate against riders needing pickups or dropoffs in minority or low-income neighborhoods. 

The cumulative effect of Jacobs' testimony was to enrage Judge Alsup, who felt that Uber's lawyers intentionally misled and deceived him. Uber's deputy general counsel Angela Padilla is scheduled to take the stand tomorrow, and it's safe to expect that the judge will keep a close eye on her testimony.

Published on: Nov 28, 2017