Former Tesla Employee Pays $400,000 To End Lawsuit Over Tips To Reporters

A court filing showed that a former Tesla Inc factory employee paid Elon Musk’s electric car maker $400,000 after the accusation against him of tipping reporters about alleged production inefficiencies and delays.

Tesla Employee LawsuitPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

The payment was requested from Martin Tripp, a former process technician at Tesla’s Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. The settlement was disclosed by Chief Judge Miranda Du of the federal court in Reno.

The public dispute involved Tesla, Musk, and Tripp, leading to a lawsuit. The Palo Alto, California-based company accused Tripp of “writing software to hack into its manufacturing operating system, stealing trade secrets, and making false claims to reporters about information he stole.”

According to Du, Tripp seemed to characterize himself as a whistleblower who did not hesitate to proclaim Tesla’s lack of effort to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars each week.

Not long after, the judge dismissed Tripp’s defamation counterclaim over statements from the company, concluding that Tripp was not showing actual malice. As a result, the settlement revealed that Tripp did not contest Tesla’s claims about stealing trade secrets. However, Tripp acknowledged that his counterclaims were funded by a short-seller of Tesla stock.

The case is Tesla Inc v Tripp, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, No. 18-00296.

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