Tesla has dropped a case in court against a short seller who the company described as ‘dangerous’ after a judge asked them to show evidence of the man’s alledged dangerous behavior.

Earlier this year, we reported on a strange situation ahead of Tesla’s Autonomy Day where a short seller part of a the TSLAQ community on Twitter, a group of short sellers who are betting against Tesla and share news and data to try to make the company look bad, filmed Tesla’s car used in its self-driving demo – pictured above.

Tesla ended up filing for and receiving a temporary restraining order against the short seller known as ‘skabooshka’ who Tesla claimed was harassing the company and listed several incidents with employees, including one where he would have struck one of them with his car.

From our original article when Tesla received the temporary restraining order:

“At one point, the target of the restraining order was found trespassing on Tesla property and allegedly struck a Tesla employee with his car, a white Acura, while driving away.  The employee, who suffered “minor injuries,” was able to capture a photo of the driver, who did not stop after striking the employee.  Fremont police were called and later attempted to deliver a warning to the driver not to trespass further on Tesla property.”

skabooshka’, who has now been identified as Randeep Hothi in the media and denied hitting anyone, was placing cameras around Tesla’s properties to obverse activities, including things like production rate.

Tesla has since been pursuing a full restraining order and claimed to have video evidence of Hothi hitting its employee, but the automaker has now dropped the case.

The court asked Tesla to release the video evidence, but the automaker said that it would include audio of a private conversation between Tesla employees that they didn’t want to release (via Techcrunch):

“After granting the temporary injunction based on Tesla’s description of events, supporting materials, and written affidavits submitted by employees, the court asked Tesla to produce both audio and video recordings related to these two incidents pursuant to a hearing. In withdrawing its complaint Friday, Tesla conveyed in documents filed with the court that it considered this requirement unnecessary in light of materials already provided, and an undue imposition on the privacy of their employees, since the recorded conversations regarding the incident contained “its employees’ private and personal conversations” as well as materials relating to the case.”

Tesla said it prefers “protection its employees’ privacy” and that they will pursue the protection of their employees “through other means.”

Hothi’s lawyers are talking about a malicious prosecution lawsuit against Tesla.

Electrek’s Take

There are a few things here worth noting. I believe Hothi is a bad actor. He used anonymity on Twitter to insult and disparage people in the Tesla community for a long time.

Anonymously insulting people online is about as coward as it gets.

He has also been consistently wrong about claims he made about Tesla and fed to the short community and the media.

However, this situation smells fishy on Tesla’s part too. What did they think was going to happen? They thought that they wouldn’t have to show the video evidence, which sounded like the only compelling evidence in this case?

That’s ridiculous.

Furthermore, the local police apparently reviewed the video evidence at the time of the events and decided not to charge or fine Hothi so it couldn’t have been that bad.

Either way, it sounds like Tesla overstepped and now they are dropping the case. It looks like it was a big mistake to file it in the first place because now they just gave more credibility to this idiot.


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