Judge Issues Ruling: The Ellen Pao/Kleiner Perkins Case Can Continue To Play Out In Court

It’s been clear from the beginning that it would be a long road to a resolution in the salacious lawsuit brought against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by one of its female partners, Ellen Pao. And as of now, it will continue to play out in the courts, and not behind closed doors.

This morning, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn ruled that Ellen Pao, the Kleiner Perkins partner who is suing the venerated Silicon Valley venture capital firm for the alleged gender discrimination and retaliation she says she encountered after complaining about sexual harassment and other purported issues at the firm, is not contractually obligated to settle her claims through arbitration as Kleiner Perkins has argued. This ruling, which has been widely expected, means that the case can move forward in the court system.

Pao’s lawyers reportedly expressed satisfaction with the ruling, while Kleiner Perkins has vowed to appeal. The firm issued this statement shortly after Judge Kahn’s ruling:

KPCB is disappointed in Judge Kahn’s decision and intends to file an appeal believing it has strong arguments and precedent to move the matter to arbitration. Ms. Pao, like other partners, signed a variety of standard agreements and it is these agreements with the managing LLCs that govern her claims and require, among other things, that disputes be resolved through arbitration. We expect arbitration to be a more efficient and speedier dispute resolution process than trying a matter before a jury years down the line in the San Francisco Superior Court.

Here are other TechCrunch posts regarding the Ellen Pao/Kleiner Perkins suit: