Exclusive: Carta is suing yet another former employee to prevent the release of damaging recordings of its executives and board members

  • It’s the second time Carta has gone to court to suppress what it says are damaging recordings.
  • The company has been embroiled in multiple legal disputes with employees, including a discrimination suit that was settled earlier this year.
  • Carta has raised more than a billion dollars from VC heavyweights like Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed.

A technological unicorn Carta sued its former Chief Product Officer Heidi Johnson in the Northern District of California in August, demanding that she turn over secret recordings of the company’s top executives and board members.

It is the company’s second trip to federal court to prevent the release of what it claims are damaging recordings. Carta and Johnson’s lawyers did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Carta, which has raised over a billion dollars from Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners, filed a separate lawsuit in New York’s Southern District earlier this year against its former Chief Technical Officer, Jerry Talton, over these recordings.

The company’s latest lawsuit against Johnson reiterates its claim that Talton secretly recorded his conversations with CEO Henry Ward, General Counsel April Lindaur, and other unnamed executives and board members and shared “those recordings and transcripts with unauthorized third parties in an effort to embarrass Carta and damage its reputation, in order to assist those individuals in pursuing claims against Carta.”

According to the complaint, Talton forwarded those recordings to Johnson, who was at the time attempting to “extort a substantial monetary settlement from Carta.”

According to court documents obtained by Insider, Johnson was fired in November 2022 for having a “polarizing” management style and taking unauthorized leave. Johnson and Talton both filed complaints with the company’s board of directors shortly after her termination, raising concerns about her firing and the conduct of CEO Henry Ward. Talton was fired a few weeks later after it was discovered that he had shared a secret recording with Johnson. Carta has now named both of them as defendants in federal lawsuits.

Carta has repeatedly refused to answer questions about what is in the recordings, but has stated in legal filings that it may be embarrassing and damaging to its reputation.

According to the lawsuit, Carta is seeking an injunction to prevent Johnson from “disclosing, disseminating, or revealing” the damaging recordings or filing court documents that would reveal any of the information contained in them. The company is also demanding that Johnson give its forensic experts access to “all electronic devices in her possession” so that the recordings can be permanently removed. Carta is also suing Johnson for monetary damages for breach of contract, with the amount to be determined at trial.

Johnson and Talton have also recently testified in a discrimination lawsuit filed against Carta in 2020 by former marketing executive Emily Kramer. The case was settled in February 2023, shortly after Johnson and Talton testified. The settlement terms are unknown.

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