Elon Musk is not a popular figure in the San Francisco Bay Area. When a sample of about 200 of its residents was asked to give their opinion on Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc and Twitter Inc, nearly 60% said they view him negatively. lets see.
The number is even more one-sided when you consider the only 142 people in the sample who said they had an opinion of the billionaire.
More than 80% of them do not like oysters – and they are not shy to say so. In fact, they “proudly and eloquently” declare their distaste for the Tesla chief.
Because Musk’s own lawyers said so in a last-ditch effort to move or at least delay a rare securities class action trial set to begin next week before US District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco.
The figures I cited come from a brief filed Thursday night by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which is defending Musk and Tesla against shareholders’ allegations that Musk tweeted in April 2018 that his Pass had “secured the money” for the deal to take the company private at a price of $420 per share.
The 200 people who answered questions about Musk are prospective jurors who were asked about their views of Musk in a pretrial questionnaire.
Quinn Emanuel’s brief has been redacted so we can’t see specific quotes from potential jurors about the Tesla and Twitter CEOs, but based on Quinn’s language, it sounds like some jurors may want to voice their criticism. want to add.
Want to give voice, want to add. Want to give voice, want to connect. I want to raise my voice, I am very vocal.
(Both explicitly said, among other things, that Musk should stop tweeting altogether.) The defense insisted that the questionnaire proved that Tesla and Musk met jurors in northern California unbiasedly. formally met
Formally met Formally met Formally The formal meeting could not be heard.
Chen denied the transfer motion at Friday’s hearing, meaning there is no immediate benefit from Quinn Emanuel’s disclosure of how much Tesla and Musk are disliked among members of the jury pool.
The brief, of course, preserves the issue of juror bias for a possible appeal. Tesla defense attorneys Alex Spiro, Andrew Rossman and Michael Lifrak did not respond to my emailed questions about whether Musk was aware of the jurors’ opinion of him and whether the Tesla CEO considered jurors’ views. Did brief disclosure was allowed.
It’s hard to imagine that even a celebrity billionaire wouldn’t be the least bit impressed to read the sketchy portrayal of a jury pool that is passionate in its distaste for him.
But this is litigation, where good strategy may mean hurting your client’s feelings even if your client is Elon Musk.
Yet, according to a report by my colleagues Tom Helms and Jody Godoy, Tesla and Musk, thanks to the chain’s decision last April to keep Musk’s 2018 deal private, could suffer damage in next week’s test. The tweets made about were false and misleading.
Shareholder lawyers for Levy and Korsinski need only convince jurors that Musk acted intentionally, that his statements affected Tesla’s share price and that investors lost money.
If this trial were a baseball game, a law professor told Hulse and Godoy, investors would be “starting with runners on base.”
Last week, as Chen finalized instructions to be given to jurors, Tesla’s lawyers tried to disrupt the game. In a January 6 proposal, Quinn Emanuel asked Chen to move the trial to Austin, Texas, where Tesla is now headquartered after leaving California in 2021.
Defense attorneys argued that since Musk’s Twitter acquisition last October, press coverage of the CEO has been consistent — and consistently negative.
Musk is accustomed to intense media attention, argued Quinn Emanuel, but the volume and tone of coverage of his management decisions on Twitter, including deep job cuts, was unprecedented.
Quinn Emanuel told Chen that the jury pool was so swayed by “recent events and biased local media coverage” that Tesla could not get a fair trial in Chen’s Northern California courtroom.
At a minimum, he said, the trial should be delayed to allow Chen’s obsession with musk to cool down. Shareholder attorneys refuted those arguments in a brief filed Wednesday.
Levy and Korsinski stated as a preliminary matter that Tesla did not report the press coverage of Musk as inaccurate or biased.
In sum, accurate reporting about Musk’s management decisions on Twitter has no bearing on whether jurors can decide a case fairly based on tweets from 2018, which appear in recent coverage of Musk. Its difficult. visible from
“For better or worse, Musk is a celebrity who attracts media attention from around the world,” Levy and Korsinski argued.
If ‘negative’ attention was necessary for the jury pool to be disqualified, then Musk would be effectively disqualified before the jury was given their knack for attracting ‘negative’ coverage.
Thursday’s reply was brief, a last chance to persuade Chen to take the drastic step of transferring the case to Quinn Emanuel. Levy and Korsinski previously referred to a questionnaire of jurors, arguing that only a few members of the jury pool knew any Twitter employees.
Quinn’s brief dove into the jury pool’s answers in more depth to argue that prospective jurors are so deeply hostile to Musk that they cannot judge the Tesla case objectively.
The summary states, “The jury pool finds Mr. Musk to be unreliable.” It also “disapproves of Mr. Musk’s conduct on Twitter.”