Tesla Ex-Contractor Seeks to Appeal Reduced Racism Verdict
(Bloomberg) -- A former Tesla Inc. contractor is seeking to appeal a judge’s decision to cut a massive $137 million verdict to $15 million in a racial discrimination case.
Owen Diaz’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday that the judge determined the maximum damages by comparing the jury’s verdict to two other cases, one from Tacoma, Washington, in 1997 and the other from Buffalo, New York, in 2012.
They said they’d like the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to determine whether the judge “gave due regard to the substantial inflation that would cause plaintiff Diaz’s remitted award to be far less valuable than those other awards issued 10 or 25 years ago.”
U.S. District Judge William Orrick on April 13 gave Diaz a month to accept the reduced verdict or face a new trial over the damages.
Diaz’s lawyers asked the judge to make his ruling final, so they can immediately appeal, and to extend the 30-day deadline until a week after an appeals court decision. They said Tesla hasn’t indicated whether it opposed the proposal.
The jury’s award to Diaz after a seven-day trial in San Francisco is believed to be one of the largest in U.S. history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case.
The jury found that Diaz, a former contract worker who was hired in 2015 via a staffing agency, was subjected to a racially hostile work environment.
The case is Diaz v. Tesla Inc., 17-cv-06748, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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