A federal judge in Nevada has filed a defamation lawsuit by former Tesla employee Martin Tripp against his former employer. At the same time, Judge Miranda Doo denied Tesla’s charge that Tripp had violated Nevada’s computer crime law when he provided confidential Tesla information to a reporter.
The trip came to public attention in the spring of 2018, when he told several news organizations — including Ars Technica — that had evidence that Tesla was wasting raw materials and produced 5,000 Model 3 cars per week Was increasing its progress in the direction. Trapp was heavily armed and “can come back and shoot people,” Tesla reiterated the news organizations’ claim when he claimed to be Tesla’s friend to Tesla. The allegation proved to be baseless.
Tesla sued Trip for violations of trade secret and computer crime laws. Sued Trip-Counter for defamation over claims of shooting. In a Thursday ruling, Dew rejected Tripp’s defamation claims, but allowed some of Tesla’s claims to go to trial.
While the case is not over, the judge’s verdict is an ominous gesture for Tripp. As the case goes to trial, Trip and Tesla try to create a factual record to show whether Trip violated trade secret and computer crime laws. But it is unclear what facts can save Trip here.
“Trip had a duty not to disclose Tesla’s confidential information,” Dew wrote. “Trip understood it, but still shared information together [reporter Linette] Lopez knew he was not authorized to share with her. In fact, a rational trio could reasonably find that Tripp violated Tesla’s rights.
Trip could face a tough battle, with a jury convinced him not to break the law.