Tesla sues former employee for $167 million

A Tesla car is charging, connected to a Tesla charging station

writer icon Wilma Johansson     Blomst   |   Business     🕐 12. Dec. 2018

Ever since Martin Tripp, a former employee of Tesla, filed a formal whistleblower complaint against the electric car manufacturer, the two have been engaged in a resentful legal battle.

CNBC reported how Tripp has been painted by Tesla as a disgruntled former employee who has a grudge due to being passed over for a promotion. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk sent an email to all Tesla employees back in June 2018. The email alleged that someone within the company had “conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations”

Around the same time as this, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Tripp. They accused him of stealing confidential information and passing it on to third parties. Tesla was seeking $1 million against Tripp.

One month later, in July 2018, Tripp filed a formal whistleblower complaint against Tesla. Tripp claimed that the car manufacturer had made poor choices in regard to vehicle specifications and how they might have an effect on safety.

Tripp asserted that battery cells were not properly affixed and that they were placed too close together, increasing the risk for combustion. He also attested that Tesla was reusing parts that had already been labelled as scrap or waste, without regard to people’s safety.

Furthermore, Tripp claimed that Tesla had overstated the number of Model 3 vehicles being produced week by week. He alleged that the numbers presented to investors were inflated by as much as 44%.

Another blow
Now Tesla has hit back again against Tripp. This time, they are seeking £167 million. Tesla continues to accuse Tripp of illegally exporting and sharing confidential data. He is also accused of making false claims to reporters, as well as a number of other things.

Tripp filed his own counterclaim to the June lawsuit, attacking Tesla and Musk for defamatory comments made by Musk to the press, in the company-wide email and on Twitter. Tripp claimed the statements made by Musk are false and that they have caused him emotional distress and threatened his personal safety.

A tough year for Tesla?
Musk has had a difficult year, with accusations of fraud and Tesla shares falling. This embittered legal conflict with Tripp may also be taking its toll.

Nevertheless, the newest car from Tesla, the Tesla Model 3, is currently ranked as the number one best selling car in the US in terms of revenue, and a top five best seller by units.

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