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Elon’s Next Big Case

Alex Spiro, a superstar Quinn Emanuel partner, is representing Tesla.
Alex Spiro, a superstar Quinn Emanuel partner, is representing Tesla. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
February 20, 2023

Back in the autumn of 2021, Owen Diaz made history regarding the racial discrimination that he survived, in 2015, as an elevator operator at Tesla’s factory in Freemont, California. Diaz was repeatedly called the N-word during his few months working for the electric carmaker. Jurors saw the racist drawings that once adorned the building’s walls. They heard testimony about supervisors who did very little to intervene. They were told during the closing argument that someone needed to teach this corporation a lesson. And the jurors delivered: $4.5 million in past compensatory damages, $2.4 million in future compensatory damages, and $130 million in punitive damages, believed to be the largest race harassment verdict in American history.