Elon Musk and Tesla’s board was sued by investor Chase Gharrity in a lawsuit that alleges the electric car company’s frontman and board of “Tweeting about specified information without the pre-approval of a mandated ‘Securities Counsel’ and Tesla’s Disclosure Committee.” Gharrity claims Musk has continued to violate the settlement that was announced in the closure of the 2018 SEC lawsuit against the CEO.
The complaint claims that Tesla’s allowance of Musk’s continuous Tweeting may “have severe ramifications on the company’s ability to secure financing.” Additionally, it claims that Tesla’s “Board has failed to take necessary action to ensure that Tesla has an independent General Counsel and to ensure that Musk does not improperly interfere with the General Counsel’s job of representing the best interests of Tesla, thus breaching its duty of loyalty.”
A 105-page complaint from the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware was unsealed on Friday, with some details purposefully left out. It mentions several examples of where Gharrity claims Musk violated the settlement from the 2018 lawsuit with the SEC, which charged the Tesla CEO with “securities fraud for misleading tweets.”
One example is from May 1st, 2020, where Musk shared his opinion that “Tesla stock is too high IMO.” The suit claims that examples like this are “continuing breaches of fiduciary duty.”
Tesla stock price is too high imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2020
The same tweet was brought to the attention of the Delaware court last year, where Judge Joseph Slights indicated that while the tweet was “troublesome on its face,” it was a legitimate observation as Tesla was in the midst of a legendary stock surge. Tesla shares exploded to gains of over 700% last year.
The case was ultimately dismissed.
Musk’s lawsuit with the SEC was settled on September 29, 2018, where the agency required the CEO to step down as Tesla’s Chairman, appoint two new independent directors to its board, establish a new committee of independent directors to oversee Musk’s communications and pay a $40 million fine in total – $20 million from Musk and $20 million from Tesla. The funds were used to solve issues caused to “harmed investors under a court-approved process.”
The full complaint was unsealed on March 12, 2021, and is available below, courtesy of Bloomberg Law.