Tesla sued a former employee for allegedly stealing confidential photos and video of Tesla's manufacturing systems and other trade secrets this past summer, and it's just been reported the electric car company is seeking $167 million in damages from the lawsuit.
CNBC reported Tuesday that Tesla's lawsuit aims to recover the amount in damages for the ex-employee's actions. The former employee, Martin Tripp, who previously worked at Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada, claimed last spring that Tesla installed punctured batteries in some Model 3 sedans and has sold unsafe cars.
Tesla has completely refuted the claims, and CEO Elon Musk personally emailed Tripp to call him a "horrible human being." He also warned other Tesla employees in a company-wide email earlier this year to be on the lookout for a "saboteur," referring to Tripp.
The lawsuit also added that Tripp attempted to recruit other employees for his backlash and that he provided false information to the media about Tesla manufacturing processes. Tesla asserted the actions and words affected its stock price and this is reflected in the lofty amount of damages it now seeks.
Tripp has since sought official whistleblower status in a separate legal battle with Tesla and claims he has documents to support his accusations. Tesla said his backlash came after he was passed over for a promotion at the Gigafactory.
The ex-employee's lawyers now seek to depose 10 Tesla employees, including Musk himself. The company refused to make the CEO available and seeks to limit the number of depositions. Tripp's lawyers said the 10 depositions are a small price if Tesla intends to claim $167 million in damages.
Neither Tesla or Tripp provided comments for the latest report.