Ex-Tesla worker in racism case turns down jury award after judge cuts it from $137 million to $15 million
By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg A former Tesla Inc. contractor has refused to accept $15 million in damages over racist abuse he was subjected to at the electric vehicle maker’s northern California factory after a judge drastically slashed a $137 million jury verdict. Owen Diaz on Tuesday told US District Judge William Orrick that he won’t agree to the the 89% cut. Instead, Diaz plans to seek a new trial, his lawyer Larry Organ said. “In rejecting the court’s excessive reduction by asking for a new trial, Mr. Diaz is again asking a jury of his peers to evaluate what Tesla did to him and to provide just compensation for the torrent of racist slurs that was directed at him,” Organ said in an emailed statement. “Mr. Diaz seeks to restore a fair and just punitive damages award that will punish and deter Tesla for the racist conduct to which Mr. Diaz was subjected and to prevent future harassment from occurring.” RELATED: Noose drawing, lynching reference left up for months at Tesla’s Fremont factory, civil-rights lawsuit claims In October, Diaz won what’s believed to be one of the largest verdicts in US history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case, following a seven-day trial in San Francisco. Related Articles Crime and Public Safety | Twitter board gives approval to Musk’s $44 billion bid Crime and Public Safety | Elon Musk’s child tells court she no longer wants ‘to be related’ to her dad Crime and Public Safety | Elon Musk says Tesla job cuts will reduce workforce by 3.5% Crime and Public Safety | Tesla illegally fired thousands of workers and denied them pay, lawsuit claims Crime and Public Safety | SpaceX reportedly fires employees critical of CEO Elon Musk Orrick had denied Tesla’s request for a new trial, based on the condition that Diaz accept the reduced award. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Orrick ruled June 7 that Diaz can’t appeal his April decision to cut the massive jury award. The former elevator operator didn’t pinpoint “questions of law” that would warrant a review, Orrick said in his ruling. The case is Diaz v. Tesla Inc., 17-cv-06748, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com ©2022 Bloomberg L.P.