The suit circles around racial abuse at Tesla’s Fremont plant.
In October, the jurors in a San Francisco court awarded Owen Diaz $137 million in damages. This included $6.9 million in emotional distress damages.
This award is one of the largest US history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case.
US District Judge William Orrick spoke on Wednesday, noting that he was troubled that the emotional distress damages may be untethered to the distress to which was testified.
In addition, almost 20 times that amount of punitive damages seemed extremely high.
The statements come as Tesla requested a new trial.
Tesla lawyers argue that compensatory damages should be as little as $300,000.
In addition, punitive damages should be less than four times that amount based on similar cases. The plaintiff’s lawyer argues to keep the verdict intact.
Further to that, the jury’s award was not “based on passion or prejudice but based on evidence and within constitutional limits.”
Judge Orrick said he may deny Tesla‘s request for a new trial if the plaintiff agreed to reduce damages. He will issue a written ruling in some time.
However, there is no time frame for the written ruling.