Hyperloop One, the futuristic ultra high-speed transport system that was sued by a co-founder, is fighting back against the ex-employee Brogan BamBrogan, claiming he was part of a "gang of four" that was engaged in misconduct and abusive behavior.
The company filed a countersuit on Tuesday in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, seeking money and punitive damages of at least $250 million.
A week ago, BamBrogan sued Hyperloop One, claiming the company's top leaders misused funds, breached their fiduciary duties and conspired "to augment their personal brands, enhance their romantic lives, and line their pockets (and those of family members)." BamBrogan was forced to resign last month.
It's the latest explosive lawsuit to come out of Silicon Valley, and the defendants portray it as a spectacle designed to capture maximum media attention against a group of visionaries. The suit, they say, followed a plot by BamBrogan and others to take over the company by manipulating a group of employees. When that failed, the countersuit says, the plaintiffs attempted to create a separate entity — "Hyperloop Two" — and then finally launched a smear campaign.
"Today's lawsuit demonstrates that these four men staged a failed coup to try to take over Hyperloop One and then conspired to start their own competing company," said Orin Snyder, Hyperloop's attorney and a partner at Gibson Dunn, in an e-mailed statement. "Hyperloop One's board and management are unified in standing up to this illicit attack on the company, and today the company is stronger than ever in its mission to bring the Hyperloop to the world."
Hyperloop One, based in Los Angeles, has set out to create a transportation network that will move passengers at a faster pace than air travel using electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube with little environmental impact. The idea of the Hyperloop was conceived by Elon Musk and Hyperloop one was established in 2014 by Shervin Pishevar, a venture capitalist, and BamBrogan, a former SpaceX engineer. The company has raised over $100 million.