In recent months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been featured in several significant legal proceedings. In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 of the top recent lawsuits involving the world’s richest man.
1. Musk Sued Over Alleged Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme
In June, Elon Musk was hit by a $258 billion lawsuit alongside his companies Tesla and SpaceX over claims he was running a pyramid scheme to support cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
In the complaint, Dogecoin investor Keith Johnson claimed Musk, Tesla, and SpaceX began to tout the cryptocurrency in 2019, driving its price up before allowing it to tumble. Johnson is seeking the amount that he and his class claim to have lost since 2019, which allegedly stands at close to $86 billion. Additionally, Johnson is seeking £172 billion in damages and wants to see Musk, SpaceX, and Tesla barred from promoting Dogecoin. He is also seeking for a judge to declare that Dogecoin trading constitutes gambling under federal and New York law.
“Defendants were aware since 2019 that Dogecoin had no value yet promoted Dogecoin to profit from its trading,” the complaint said. “Musk used his pedestal as World’s Richest man to operate and manipulate the Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme for profit, exposure and amusement.”
2. Shareholder Lawsuit Challenges Musk’s Twitter Takeover
In April of this year, social media platform Twitter announced it had agreed to Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover deal. However, the start of the following month saw Twitter and the world’s richest man sued by a Florida pension fund, seeking to block Musk from completing his takeover before 2025.
The Orlando Police Pension Fund argued Delaware law forbade a quick merger due to Musk’s agreements with other significant Twitter shareholders, including financial adviser Morgan Stanley and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
The fund claims these agreements make Musk, who currently owns 9.6% of Twitter, the effective “owner” of over 15% of the company’s shares. Consequently, the fund says a three-year delay to the merger is necessary unless two-thirds of the shares not “owned” by Musk are granted approval.
The lawsuit is also seeking to recover legal fees and costs and to declare that Twitter’s directors breached their fiduciary duties and seeks to recover legal fees and costs.
3. Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard
The Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard case was one of the highest-profile defamation cases of recent times. Depp sued Heard for writing an article in The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” While the piece did not name Depp explicitly, the actor claimed it referred to their relationship and damaged his reputation.
Following her divorce from Depp, Heard dated Musk for around a year. As an ex-partner of Heard’s, Musk’s name appeared on the witness list, though he did not testify at the trial.
However, Heard’s talent agent, Christian Carino, testified about a text message exchange in which Musk told Heard, “You weren’t in love with him and you told me a thousand times you were just filling space,” to which Heard replied, “I know.”
In a May Tweet, Musk wished both Depp and Heard well. “I hope they both move on,” he said. “At their best, they are each incredible”.
4. Tesla Sued Over Fatal Crash
In February of this year, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla was sued over an alleged suspension failure in a car crash that led to the death of the driver and a passenger in September 2021.
A lawsuit filed by the driver’s family claims the 2021 Model 3 Tesla had “defective and unreasonably dangerous suspension that may cause loss of control during ordinary and foreseeable driving conditions.”
The lawsuit says that just days before the fatal crash, the driver brought the vehicle to a Tesla store due to issues with “controllability/steering, suspension, battery and electronic system, and an ability to open the doors.”
The lawsuit against Tesla seeks damages of over $30,000 from both Musk’s company and the service manager, who allegedly behaved negligently when checking the vehicle.
In May of this year, a federal judge denied Tesla’s request to dismiss the case. As such, July will mark the first time Tesla has faced a jury in litigation over a car accident.