Thursday, 20 January 2022 13:26

Judge Calls Tesla’s $137M Verdict in Racism Case ‘Extremely High’: Report

Written by Maria Merano, Teslarati


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U.S. District Judge William Orrick said he was inclined to deny Tesla’s request for a new trial on the racism case brought against it by ex-employee Owen Diaz if the former Tesla worker agrees to a reduction in damages, reported Bloomberg.

Orrick said he would issue a written ruling but did not give a specific timeframe.


On Jan. 19, Orrick presided over a hearing about Tesla’s request for a new trial on the racism case. Orrick said he was “troubled” by the $6.9 million jurors awarded Diaz for emotional distress damages. He noted the $6.9 million award “may be untethered to the distress to which Mr. Diaz and his witnesses testified,” adding punitive damages almost 20 times that amount were “extremely high.”


Tesla’s $137 million verdict is believed to be one of the largest in U.S. history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case.


For perspective, in 2000, Coca-Cola Company agreed to pay more than $190 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Black employees in April 1999. It was one of the largest settlements at the time. The settlement went to as many as 2,000 current and former salaried Coca-Cola employees, reported the New York Times.


Although he believes Tesla’s $137 million verdict may be too high, Orrick showed he understood the jurors’ decision. 


“That said, I recognize the awful history of race discrimination in this country. Particularly juxtaposed with working at a company that attempted to present itself as...

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