Tesla challenges ‘staggering’ $137 million award in racism case

Tesla Inc. asked a judge to set aside a “staggering” $137 million verdict in favor of a contract worker who accused the company of failing to protect him from rampant racism in its northern California factory and order a new trial.

The Oct. 4 award to Owen Diaz by jurors in San Francisco federal court is believed to be one of the largest in U.S. history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case.

Tesla said in a filing at a U.S. District Court in San Francisco that while the jury believed Tesla “could and should have done more to root out alleged racism at the factory,” the award “simply cannot stand.”  

“It is an award without precedent in U.S. anti-discrimination law. It dwarfs awards in similar — and even in the most egregious — cases. And it bears no relationship to the actual evidence at trial,” the company said in the filing, dated Nov. 16.

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