Judge Denies Uber’s Motion for Private Arbitration


In a statement, Waymo said that justification was “a desperate bid by Uber to avoid the court’s jurisdiction.”

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John Krafcik, the chief executive of Waymo, speaking at the North American International Auto Show in January.

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Brett Carlsen for The New York Times

“We welcome the court’s decision today, and we look forward to holding Uber responsible in court for its misconduct,” the statement said.

It was yet another turn in a high-profile case between two technology giants who have made huge bets that self-driving automobiles will dominate the transportation landscape of the future.

The case began in February and has proceeded in fits and starts, partly because Mr. Levandowski has resisted providing information on the files he has been accused of stealing. Mr. Levandowski has exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, which has prevented Uber and Waymo from obtaining certain information and documents in the continuing case.

Judge William Alsup of United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who is presiding in the case, ruled that moving it to private arbitration could make it even more difficult to establish a clear timeline of events in the case.

“As a practical matter,” Judge Alsup wrote, “it is hard to imagine how consolidating proceedings as to Levandowski and defendants, whether here or in arbitration, could alleviate these difficulties.”

Judge Alsup also referred the case to the United States attorney for an investigation into a possible theft of trade secrets, according to a court filing. Such an investigation could lead to criminal charges for Mr. Levandowski.

“We remain confident in our case and welcome the chance to talk about our independently developed technology in any forum,” Niki Christoff, an Uber spokeswoman, said in a statement.

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