Martin Tripp, accused of ‘sabotage’ by Elon Musk, to pay $400,000 to end lawsuit
A former Tesla Inc factory employee will pay Elon Musk’s electric car maker $400,000 after it accused him of tipping reporters about alleged production inefficiencies and delays, a court filing shows.
The payment by Martin Tripp, a former process technician at Tesla’s Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, was a part of a settlement disclosed on Monday and approved on that day by Chief Judge Miranda Du from the federal court in Reno.
Tesla and Musk became embroiled in a public dispute with Tripp in June 2021, when it fired after which sued him.
The Palo Alto, California-based company accused Tripp of writing software to hack into its manufacturing operating-system, stealing trade secrets, and making false states reporters about information he stole.
Du has stated Tripp characterized himself like a whistleblower who had identified production inefficiencies and delays in Tesla’s effort to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars each week.
In September, the judge dismissed Tripp’s defamation counterclaim over statements from Tesla, including an email to employees where Musk accused him of “sabotage,” saying Tripp did not show actual malice.
According to some court filing describing the settlement, Tripp did not contest Tesla’s claims that he stole trade secrets, and acknowledged that his counterclaims were funded by a short seller of Tesla stock.
The filing was signed by Tripp and a Tesla lawyer.
The case is Tesla Inc v Tripp, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, No. 18-00296.