Elon Musk announced today that Tesla is building a “hardcore litigation department” to “directly initiate and execute lawsuits.” The timing of the effort is strange since it comes right after an allegation of sexual misconduct against the CEO.
Musk made the announcement on Twitter:
Tesla is building a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate and execute lawsuits. The team will report directly to me.
He said that the team will commit to two things:
- We will never seek victory in a just case against us, even if we will probably win.
- We will never surrender/settle an unjust case against us, even if we will probably lose.
This reflects previous comments made by Musk about his and Tesla’s policy for litigations:
Tesla policy is never to give in to false claims, even if we would lose, and never to fight true claims, even if we would win.
Musk has previously said that he doesn’t settle under any condition, and he put that policy to the test during a lawsuit over the acquisition of SolarCity. All other defendants, who consisted of Tesla’s board, settled when investors sued over alleged mishandling of Tesla’s SolarCity allegation except for Musk.
The case went to trial last year, and Musk recently came out on top.
But the timing of the announcement is strange as it comes a day after an allegation of sexual misconduct came out against Musk that involved a reported settlement between the alleged victim and SpaceX over the situation.
However, Musk is specifically talking about Tesla’s legal department.
Tesla already has an extensive legal department, including litigation lawyers, but it also works with outside firms in bigger cases.
The company is always embroiled in many different cases before the courts, but it has been involved lately in some more high-profile cases, including a lawsuit over allegations of racial discrimination that resulted in a $137 million award that was later slashed to $15 million.
Interestingly, in Musk’s new statement, he mentions Tesla “directly initiating” lawsuits.
While Tesla gets a lot of press when it is being sued, the automaker has also been known to file lawsuits, too, especially when it comes to cases of intellectual property theft.
Update: The news coincides with the launch of NYTimes/FX/Hulu’s documentary on Tesla’s Autopilot which seems to fit the ire of Elon Musk a little better. He could also be threatening former employees who spoke negatively in the documentary including former Tesla president John McNeil who headed up global sales, marketing, delivery and government relations.
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