Former Tesla elevator operator, Owen Diaz, rejected his $15 million award in his lawsuit claiming racial abuse from his coworkers at the Fremont Factory.
Earlier this month, on June 7, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco stated that Owen Diaz had two weeks to accept the $15 million payout. Orrick had decided to reduce the award from nearly $137 million to $15 million in April 2022.
Lawyers representing Diaz turned down Judge Orrick’s award in a brief filing submitted to a San Francisco federal court. As per Reuters, Diaz’s lawyers claimed the award was unjust and would not deter future misconduct by Tesla.
After stating that Diaz had two weeks to accept the award, Judge Orrick noted that the former Tesla worker had no controlling question of law to justify an immediate appeal of the reduced payout. He further explained that permitting an immediate appeal “would further delay [the] resolution of a case that is already five years old.”
Diaz sued Tesla in 2017. His lawyers disagreed with Judge Orrick, arguing that a question of law regarding damages for emotional distress justified an immediate appeal. By rejecting the $15 million award, Diaz’s lawyers opened the door for a new trial.
“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,” said the lawyers of the former Fremont Factory employee.