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Judge denies re-trial in Tesla racial harassment case

Published 2023-10-04, 02:10 p/m
© Reuters.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick, on Wednesday ruled against ordering a third trial in a race discrimination lawsuit filed against Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

The decision came in response to allegations made by a former Black factory worker, who claimed that the company's legal team had engaged in unethical behavior.

In a written order, Judge Orrick upheld the jury's verdict from April, which awarded $3.2 million to the plaintiff, Owen Diaz. Tesla's request to reduce the award by half was also denied.

Diaz, who previously worked as an elevator operator at Tesla's Fremont, California, factory, alleged that he endured extensive racial harassment, which included racial slurs and the presence of racist graffiti.

His legal team also alleged that Tesla lawyers employed inappropriate questioning techniques, unjustly accused a witness of falsehood, and made deceptive statements to the jury during the trial held earlier this year.

In 2021, a different jury initially awarded Diaz $137M, but Judge Orrick ruled that the verdict was excessive. Consequently, the judge ordered a second trial to determine the appropriate damages after Diaz rejected a lower settlement offer of $15M.

Shares of TSLA are up 4.15% in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

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