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The price of a $137 million racism lawsuit for an ex-Tesla worker has been slashed to $15 million

Owen Diaz, ex-Tesla employee

The former Tesla worker was awarded nearly $7 million in emotional distress charges and another $130 million in punitive damages (Image: Owen Diaz/PA)

A former Tesla worker can’t appeal a judge’s decision handed him $137 million by a jury

On Tuesday, the federal judge gave the black former elevator operator at Tesla two weeks to decide whether to accept the $15 million in damages.

Last October, 52-year-old Owen Diaz was awarded a $137m (£100m) payout by a jury for the discrimination he faced at Elon Musk’s electric car company.

Diaz’s $137 million settlement was considered one of the largest judgments in US history for a single plaintiff in a racial discrimination case.

In April, US District Judge William Orrick reduced the award to $15 million, citing other court rulings to support his decision.

Diaz’s attorneys tried to appeal the cut, saying the judge didn’t give inflation due consideration because the cases he cited were 10 and 25 years ago.

Tesla

On Tuesday, the federal judge gave the black former lift operator at Tesla two weeks to decide whether to accept the $15 million in damages (Image: Reuters)

Yesterday, the judge did not identify any “prevailing point of law” that would warrant an immediate appeal of the reduced award, which includes $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $13.5 million in punitive damages.

In Tuesday’s order, Orrick said he “strongly believes” the jury award was excessive and that allowing a speedy appeal “would further delay the resolution of a case that is already five years old.”

The former Tesla worker was initially awarded nearly $7 million in emotional distress charges and another $130 million in punitive damages after a seven-day trial in San Francisco.

Orrick reduced both on April 13 while declining Tesla’s offer to try again.

Diaz claimed that during his nine months working at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory in 2015 and 2016, his colleagues and a supervisor exposed him to a hostile work environment that included racial slurs, caricatures and swastikas.

Diaz’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They had said a legal issue of emotional distress damages warranted an immediate appeal.

Under US Supreme Court precedent, punitive damages should generally be less than 10 times the damages awarded.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/08/ex-tesla-workers-137-million-racism-lawsuit-award-cut-to-15-million-16789156/ The price of a $137 million racism lawsuit for an ex-Tesla worker has been slashed to $15 million

Justin Scacco

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