Uber’s Investigation Methods Led to a Perversion of Justice
The widely popular transportation network company, Uber, was caught in a legal scandal regarding misrepresentation under false pretenses in the Meyer v. Kalanick court case this year.
According to official court documents, Uber attempted to solicit damaging information from the plaintiff, Spencer Meyer, `and his lawyer.
The plaintiff claims, according to Bloomberg Technology, “Uber’s pricing algorithm violates antitrust laws used to protect consumers from price manipulation.” Uber hired Ergo, a CIA-affiliated company to conduct a secretive operation through misrepresentation as “reporters profiling up-and-coming labor lawyers” and contacted close associates of the plaintiff’s counsel. Continuous investigation under false pretenses ensued, leading to the counsel contacting Uber’s lawyer, questioning whether or not the series of interviews was related to Uber.
Uber first denied any allegations concerning their connection with the interviews. However, later a New York judge ordered Uber to turn over all communication between Uber and Ergo. The court shed light on the unscrupulous investigation methods that “raised a serious risk of perverting the process of justice before this court.”
This resulted in the omission of all information obtained by Ergo in the interviews in the case and both the defendants and Ergo are prevented “from undertaking any further personal background investigations of individuals involved in this litigation through the use of false pretenses, unlicensed investigators, illegal secret recordings, or other unlawful, fraudulent, or unethical means; and retains jurisdiction to enforce Uber’s agreement to reimburse plaintiff in the sum agreed to by the parties,” according to the official court documents signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on July, 25, 2016.
Ergo’s Investigation Fee was $19,500 for 7 Source Interviews
Ergo’s investigation fee totaled $19,500 for 7 source interviews conducted over the course of 10 days. The investigators actually contacted 28 sources, which would have jeopardized the entire case if it had come to light.
As a private investigative firm, our sole mission is the safety and confidentiality of our clients. The assurance of these conditions may include action under false pretenses known as “discreet source interviews”. This is in order to ensure client protection and to solicit information without hesitation from the interviewee.
However, Ergo’s methods were a perversion of justice. They operate as a security firm, not a licensed private investigation firm, despite the fact that the founder is a former NSC (National Security Council) officer and many of their employees have been formerly affiliated with the CIA. In addition, too many sources closely associated with the plaintiff were contacted, resulting in both the revelation of the company in question and the defamation of Uber’s reputation.
No other articles mention the fact that Ergo is not a licensed private investigation firm. We believe that this fact should have added insult to injury in this case.
To prevent this kind of situation on our end we continue to modify and improve our methods in regard to how we conduct discreet source interviews.