© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Motorists drive past Tesla’s primary vehicle factory in Fremont, California, U.S. May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
By Daniel Wiessner
(Reuters) -A California federal judge on Wednesday declined to order a third trial in a race discrimination lawsuit against Tesla (NASDAQ:), rejecting claims by a Black former factory worker that the company’s lawyers engaged in misconduct.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco in a written order upheld a $3.2 million verdict that a jury awarded to plaintiff Owen Diaz in April, denying Tesla’s motion to cut the award in half.
Diaz, a former elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory, claimed he was subjected to severe racial harassment including slurs and racist graffiti.
His lawyers had argued that Tesla’s legal team had asked improper questions, baselessly accused a witness of lying and made misleading statements to the jury during a five-day trial earlier this year.
Diaz was awarded $137 million by a different jury in 2021, but Orrick in 2021 ruled that the verdict was excessive. The judge ordered the second trial to determine damages after Diaz turned down a lower payout of $15 million.