In the latest chapter of the saga over Uber’s background investigations into an antitrust plaintiff and his counsel (see coverage here), Judge Rakoff has ordered Uber and its investigative firm, Ergo, to cease their background investigations and has enjoined Uber from using any information found during the investigation in the antitrust proceeding. Uber had hired Ergo to investigate the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel, an Ergo allegedly made various misrepresentations to gain information from friends and colleagues of the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel.
Judge Rakoff did not reach the issue of monetary sanctions, as defendants “have reached an agreement to pay plaintiff a reasonable (though publicly undisclosed) sum in reimbursement of plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in conjunction with these matters.” Judge Rakoff described the proceedings as a “sad day” and noted that:
While pleased that the parties have resolved the last prong of plaintiff’s requested relief, the Court cannot help but be troubled by this whole dismal incident. Potential plaintiffs and their counsel need to know that they can sue companies they perceive to be violating the law without having lies told to their friends and colleagues so that their litigation adversaries can identify “derogatories.” Further, the processes of justice before the Court requires parties to conduct themselves in an ethical and responsible manner, and the conduct here fell far short of that standard.
Our full coverage of the Uber antitrust case is here.