Tesla avoids third trial in race discrimination lawsuit

U.S. District Judge William Orrick has made a final ruling in a race discrimination lawsuit filed against Tesla, putting an end to the possibility of a third trial in the case.

The lawsuit centered around allegations made by Owen Diaz, a former Black factory worker at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory. Diaz claimed to have endured pervasive racial harassment during his time at the company, including racial slurs and the presence of racist graffiti.

The legal battle took a twist when Diaz’s legal team accused Tesla’s lawyers of unethical behavior, citing inappropriate questioning techniques, unfounded accusations against a witness, and deceptive statements to the jury during the trial held earlier this year.

The saga began in 2021 when a jury initially awarded Diaz a staggering $137 million. However, Judge Orrick later ruled that this amount was excessive. Subsequently, a second trial was ordered to determine the appropriate damages after Diaz rejected a lower settlement offer of $15 million.

In the latest ruling issued this week and reported by Reuters, Judge Orrick has upheld the jury’s verdict from April, which granted Diaz $3.2 million in damages. Furthermore, Tesla’s request to reduce the award by half was denied, solidifying the decision, bringing to a close to a long and contentious legal battle between Tesla and Owen Diaz.

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