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Tesla shareholder secures legal team to challenge plaintiff’s $5B fee request in Tornetta v Musk case

Credit: Tesla Asia/X

Longtime Tesla shareholder Amy Steffens has secured legal counsel to challenge the plaintiff’s fee request in the Tornetta vs. Musk et al. case. The Tesla shareholder’s filing argued that the plaintiff’s fee request of more than $5.1 billion worth of TSLA stock is not just unjustifiable — it is harmful to regular shareholders of the electric vehicle maker. 

The Tornetta vs. Musk et al. case became a substantial issue for Tesla earlier this year when Judge Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery rescinded the CEO’s 2018 compensation plan. The Delaware Court’s decision practically voided Musk’s $55.8 billion compensation package, and in a filing, Tornetta’s legal team argued that they deserve over 29 million TSLA stock as their legal fees. 

As of TSLA stock’s close on Wednesday’s trading, Tornetta’s legal team’s request to be granted 29,402,900 shares of the electric vehicle maker would be worth more than $5.1 billion. Such an amount translates to an hourly rate of over $200,000.

The Tesla shareholder’s filing clarified a number of points that were seemingly assumed by the Delaware Court in its January 2024 Opinion. As per the filing, Ms. Steffens was fully informed about the terms and conditions of Elon Musk’s 2018 CEO Performance Award, and she was also equally informed about the relationship between the CEO and the members of Tesla’s Board of Directors. 

More importantly, the Tesla shareholder noted in her filing that she was fully aware back in 2018 that Musk’s compensation plan was incredibly ambitious, and he would only be compensated if the electric vehicle maker achieved then-unprecedented levels of success. Ms. Steffens also argued that even after reviewing the Court’s Opinion that rescinded Musk’s 2018 pay package, she still believes that the 2018 CEO Performance Award should have remained in place. 

The Tesla shareholder has assembled a formidable legal team to challenge the plaintiff’s $5.1 billion fee request. They include Joseph A. Grundfest of Stanford Law School, a prominent expert in the fields of capital markets, corporate governance, and securities litigation; Donald B. Verrilli, Elaine J. Goldenberg, and Achyut Phadke, who are partners at the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson; and Anthony Rickey of Margrave Law LLC, who specializes in complex corporate and commercial cases. 

The Tesla shareholder’s filing (via Plainsite) opposing the plaintiff’s $5.1 billion fee request can be viewed below. 

gov.uscourts.delch.2018-0408-KSJM.354.0 by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla shareholder secures legal team to challenge plaintiff’s $5B fee request in Tornetta v Musk case
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