Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer who helped pioneer self-driving cars before joining Uber, was ordered to pay $179 million to Google Wednesday over a contract dispute. The ruling upholds the award Google previously won in arbitration over an agreement that Levandowski would not poach employees.
Levandowski also filed for bankruptcy protection claiming he had less than $100 million in personal assets. Google once paid Levandowski a $120 million bonus.
Nevertheless, Levandowski still might not have to pay. As The New York times notes, Levandowski’s employment agreement with Uber indemnified him. “While Uber and Levandowski are parties to an indemnification agreement, whether Uber is ultimately responsible for such indemnification is subject to a dispute between the company and Levandowski,” an Uber securities filing said this week, leaving open the question of who must pay Google.
Levandowski is embroiled in several legal actions since being accused of stealing 14,000 documents from Google containing proprietary information about the company’s self-driving program. A case brought by federal prosecutors in August, charging Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of Google trade secrets, is still open. Uber, Levandowski, and Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out from Google, settled an earlier dispute with Uber handing over about $245 million in stock to Waymo.