Former Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski, who has been accused of stealing trade secrets from former employer Waymo, might have thought things couldn’t get much worse. But a new lawsuit filed by Levandowski’s former nanny suggests that the exact opposite is true.
In fact, much of the nanny’s lawsuit — filed by a personal injury attorney in Fair Oaks, Calif., and rife with complaints, including of a retaliatory and hostile work environment, age discrimination, failure to pay wages, and other labor and health code violations — reads rather like a concerted attempt to ruin Levandowski, given what are arguably a lot of extraneous details.
For example, the suit cites with little certainty the names and jobs of people who were discussed during family dinner conversations in an effort to paint a picture of Levandowski’s work life, which the nanny appeared to be trying to document closely, beginning last February.
It also attempts to document who visited Levandowski’s home throughout the nanny’s employment with Levandowski’s family, which began in late 2016 and ended roughly six months later.
Other, perhaps more applicable observations of the former nanny, Erika Wong, include her unhappiness with Levandowski’s requests that she let his sons cry themselves to sleep on occasion, and recollections certain to embarrass him, including the “various sized flesh colored dildos” along with “nipple clamps, black with torture adjustable settings,” found by one of his children after he opened a dresser drawer in Levandowski’s bedroom.
Wong — who, according to her lawsuit, worked briefly for a law firm that specialized in workers compensation — also took copious notes about Lewandowski’s comings and goings and what he was bringing into his home.
Here’s one scene outlined in the filing that allegedly took place the evening of February 23, 2017:
Wong arrived in the early evening and Levandowski was on the phone. Wong was speaking to an attorney, she alleges was Ehrlich for several hours. She noticed Levandowski was profusely sweating and walking around in circles in the living room. Wong sat at the dining table, close to Levandowski.
Levandowski screamed “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” all evening. He stated, “How could they do this to me?” “Miles, what about the clause, you and Abby said this would work!! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! “What do I do with the discs? What do the contracts say?? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” What about Ognen, John, Izzy, and Rich Bender? All of you said all said this would work!!! Shit! Shit! Shit!” It’s all mine, the money, the deals, it’s all mine. What about ‘the shit?’ These are all my fucking deals!!! All of you fucking attorneys and Randy said this would work!”
Wong further describes in her lawsuit Levandowski coming home with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, his then boss, at which point she says Levandowski brought into his home:
. . .A copper wiring device made up of roughly 60 intertwined individual copper wirings, wrapped in thick yellow rubber that had a serial number on it. There was also a large flat lid that had holes on all the edges, a large steel screw, and hexagonal steel washer (heavy, palm size). Wong alleges the washer and screw are similar to those used on circuit boards, to keep from coming loose from “vibrations.”
Her suit also notes that Levandowski also brought home:
. . . a white bucket that contained circuit boards, items related to circuit boards and various reflective lenses.
Wired was first to flag the filing, and several outlets covering the lawsuit suggest that Wong’s claims raise new questions about Levandowski’s business conduct.
We don’t have a horse in this race, but we think that’s probably giving it too much credit, given the quality of suit, which, notably, is seeking damages of more than $6 million. (The Register has similarly called the filing a “sueball” that reads “like a stream of consciousness or a series of hastily scribbled notes typed out one after the other.”)
Either way, the salacious details are likely the last thing that Levandowski needs right now. The former Uber engineer is already at the center of a now yearlong battle between Uber and Levandowski’s former employer, Waymo.
In fact, the two sides will meet at long last in a courtroom next month to duke it out.
As those following the drama well know already, a year ago, Waymo, the autonomous car company once known as Google’s self-driving car outfit, announced it was suing Uber for trade-secret theft.
More specifically, Waymo accused Levandowski of downloading 14,000 secret documents as he was leaving the company in order to launch his own self-driving truck startup, Otto, in early 2016. Nine months later, Uber acquired Otto for a reported $680 million, and Waymo believes that Uber was complicit from the outset in what it claims is trade theft.
Levandowski has denied any wrongdoing. Uber has also denied any wrongdoing, despite that a former manager on the company’s corporate surveillance team told federal prosecutors late last year of a secret messaging system designed to “destroy communications that might be considered sensitive.”
You can check out Wong’s lawsuit below.