Elon Musk settles lawsuit against man he claimed ‘almost killed’ a Tesla worker:- Elon Musk has chosen to resolve a defamation lawsuit filed against him by a man he had accused of nearly causing the death of a Tesla employee. However, Musk’s assertion lacked supporting evidence.
Musk has become accustomed to facing lawsuits related to defamation and other similar issues.
While not connected to Tesla, Musk’s high-profile legal battle over allegations of defamation included the well-known “pedo” case, which he contested for years before ultimately prevailing in court.
Elon Musk And Greenspan
Regarding his involvement with Tesla, Musk has faced legal action for defamation from various individuals in the “Tesla short community,” a group of individuals who hold a negative outlook on Tesla’s prospects, and some even bet against the company in the stock market.
Randeep Hothi, formerly a respected member of the Tesla short community for his frequent presence outside the Tesla Fremont factory to gather data about Tesla’s production, has filed one of those lawsuits. His primary goal was to verify the community’s perception that Tesla was unlikely to achieve profitability as a major producer of electric vehicles.
During one of his visits, a Tesla security employee asked Hothi to leave the premises, and Tesla later alleged that Hothi deliberately drove his vehicle too close to the employee while departing.
Tesla possessed video evidence of the event, which was not released to the public, but Tesla presented it to the authorities. After reviewing the footage, the police concluded that no charges would be filed.
The matter could have been resolved at that point, but it resurfaced during another dispute involving Musk and Aaron Greenspan, another well-known Tesla skeptic who also filed a defamation lawsuit against Musk and several others.
As Musk and Greenspan engaged in a heated email exchange, Musk alleged that Hothi had nearly caused the death of Tesla workers:
- […] in the case of Hothi, [Hothi] almost killed Tesla employees. What was a sideswipe when Hothi hit one of our people could easily have been a death with 6 inches of difference.
Greenspan disclosed the email publicly, which ultimately prompted Hothi to file a defamation lawsuit against Musk. The Tesla short community helped finance the case through a public fundraising campaign, and it dragged on for three years.
Today, Hothi confirmed that Musk has settled with a $10,000 payment (via LA Times):
Recently, Musk surrendered. Rather than persist in fighting a nearly three-year-old defamation lawsuit filed by college student Randeep Hothi, the pugnacious chief executive of Tesla cried uncle, settling for $10,000. Tesla lawyers offered to settle several weeks ago, and on Monday, Hothi said, he accepted.
Musk famously said that he or Tesla will always choose to not fight legal battles that are unjust, even if they believe they can win, and to never settle when they believe the case is unjust.
He wrote when talking about Tesla’s approach to legal battles:
My commitment: We will never seek victory in a just case against us, even if we will probably win. We will never surrender/settle an unjust case against us, even if we will probably lose.
It’s not clear if the settlement is an admission that the cause was, in fact, just, as Elon Musk has yet to comment.
When first bringing the case to the court, Hothi claimed that he would have accepted a simple apology, but it looks like Musk preferred to pay $10,000.
As usual with these court cases, the real winners are the lawyers. Musk clearly wasn’t careful enough with his words, something he seems to be making a habit of lately, and as for Hothi, while he won a small settlement, I personally doubt it was worth the headache.
Like many legal battles, the primary beneficiaries of the Hothi vs. Musk defamation lawsuit were likely the lawyers involved. Musk’s careless choice of words, which has become somewhat of a recurring issue for him, played a significant role in the case’s outcome.
Hothi, on the other hand, may have received a modest settlement as the victor, but it’s difficult to say if it was worth the stress and time spent pursuing the matter.
Overall, it’s clear that the situation could have been avoided had Musk been more prudent with his language, and while Hothi won the case, the actual value of the settlement may not have justified the effort required to secure it.
I don’t know if he had a significant short position on Tesla or if he was just providing information to the community, but the Tesla shorts have been burned badly over the years.
Furthermore, their incessant quest for anecdotal data points about Tesla’s production supposedly failing, which Hothi was the face of at one point, proved futile at the end as the company has indeed become a profitable large-scale electric vehicle manufacturer.
The Tesla short community was characterized by its members’ persistent efforts to gather evidence of Tesla’s failure to become a successful mass producer of electric vehicles. Randeep Hothi was once a prominent figure within this community due to his willingness to camp outside the Tesla Fremont factory and collect data on the company’s production.
Despite the community’s constant scrutiny and skepticism, Tesla ultimately became a profitable manufacturer of electric vehicles on a large scale. Therefore, the community’s search for anecdotal data points that allegedly demonstrated Tesla’s inability to succeed in the industry proved fruitless in the end.
In other words, the Tesla short community’s negative outlook on Tesla was not supported by the company’s actual performance. Hothi’s efforts to gather evidence about Tesla’s production ultimately did not confirm the community’s belief that Tesla was destined to fail. The company’s success, in fact, proved the community’s predictions to be incorrect.
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