Just weeks after a debut test of its propulsion technology, a key player in efforts to build a Hyperloop system is facing a fierce legal battle among the company's founders.
Brogan BamBrogan co-founded and served as CEO and CTO of Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based company that's one of several hoping to develop an ultra-high speed rail system powered largely by a system of magnets and fans.
Earlier this month, however, he left Hyperloop One, and this week, he and three other executives filed suit against the company, according to The New York Times.
The lawsuit alleged that fellow co-founder Shervin Pishevar and another director, Joe Lonsdale — both prominent venture capitalists — used their stakes in Hyperloop One to favor relatives and business associates.
Other allegations included harassment and wrongful termination, as well as assault, breach of contract, defamation and unlawful infliction of emotional distress. The complaint also accused Afshin Pishevar, the co-founder's brother and Hyperloop One's former chief legal officer, of placing a noose on BamBrogan's office chair, the Times reported.
“Hyperloop is not a party trick,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote, according to the Times. “It is a serious concept that deserves serious development.”
The company, in response, accused the plaintiffs of attempting and failing "to stage a coup" and characterized the suit as "unfortunate and delusional."
"The claims are pure nonsense and will be met with a swift and potent legal response," officials said in a statement.
Hyperloop One demonstrated its propulsion system at a test track outside Las Vegas in May shortly after completing an $80 million fundraising round and announcing partnerships with GE and France's national railway, among others.
Rival company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies also hopes to build a test track in central California, while Elon Musk's SpaceX — where BamBrogan formerly worked as an engineer — will house another track near its Los Angeles headquarters.
Musk first outlined a blueprint for a Hyperloop system in 2013 and hosted a design competition earlier this year, but he invited others to develop the system to move pods of people at speeds of more than 700 miles per hour.