Is Randeep Hothi a stalker, a harassment, a violent offender and an imminent threat? Or is he a mild-tempered academic engaged in legal if non-orthodox research for his investments?
Is Tesla Elon Musk an intimidator who uses his wealth, power and Twitter account to silence critics? Or is he just trying to protect his employees from possible harm?
These questions are asked in a US court where Tesla is seeking a permanent obstacle order against Hothi.
Tesla says Hothi beat a Tesla security worker with his car at the company's California assembly plant, and later threatened workers in a Tesla Model 3 who tried driverless technology at the Interstate 880 highway on the Fremont and Oakland side of the Bay Bridge.
* Army of investors waging war on Tesla has no leader
* A case of love and hate for Tesla musketeers
* Elon Musk and Tesla in survival mode as dark economic clouds circle
* Tesla to stop selling cheapest versions of Model S and Model X
Hothi, PhD student at the University of Michigan and Tesla critics living near the Fremont facility, says Tesla is lying to to smear him and close him. [1
Tesla asked the judge to carry media from future hearings. The judge refused to do so.
Hothi is part of a Twitter group of short sellers and other Tesla critics known as $ TslaQ. Participants monitor Tesla's deficiencies in the business model and evidence that the company's share price is far higher than it should be, based on business. Many of them, including Hothi, have invested in the stock price that is falling – as it has done, most recently. It closed at USD 230.34 on Monday, down 1.2 percent in the day and 27 percent this year.
Another member of the group, Lawrence Fossi, an investment manager who runs the Twitter handle Montana Skeptic, sets up a GoFundMe site for Hothi's legal expenses. So far, it has raised US $ 118,000. According to Hothi's legal responses to Tesla's prosecutor, Tesla has the story of using the justice system to silence his critics. The document pointed to the widely published story of Martin Tripp, a former whistleblower employee, and said that Tesla deliberately produced and sold defective batteries. "Tesla CEO Musk sat down to destroy him," the right of reply said.
Tesla sued Tripp for US $ 167 million. An anonymous caller had contacted the company to say that Tripp planned a mass shooting, a report that was transferred to the police. According to Bloomberg Businessweek "Tesla's PR department tells that Tripp was possibly gay and had been part of a great conspiracy," and the company beat another whistleblower, former Tesla security chief Sean Gouthro.
At that time, Tesla said that the Tripp claims were "untrue and sensational". The case is expected in the US District Court in Nevada.
After Fossi's identity was revealed last year, Musk Fossi spoke to the chief and threatened a lawsuit. And Hothi's court application led to the case of Tesla Regional Manager Adam Williams, who reported to the manager that employees were deliberately selling defective cars; The document said Williams was demoted and later fired. He sued Tesla last year. Tesla then said that Williams was fired only for poor performance, and that his costume had "no profit" and "it is also contrary to the fact that we are the highest in customer satisfaction of any car brand".
Musk, openly despised by short sellers on Twitter, can be particularly sensitive to criticism of the company's autonomous driving technology, a key strategic program whose successes and failures are bound to affect the company's share price.
Hothi had watched the production at Tesla's assembly plant, counting cars to match Tesla's production requirements. He often took pictures from just outside the plant, and sometimes placed a camera (on public property, he said) to record external recording. He sent his observations under the Twitter handle Skabooshka.
21. In February, Hothi sat in his car in a publicly accessible area at the Fremont facility's parking lot near a Tesla sales hall. When Tesla is confronted with a security guard, Tesla said in court documents, Hothi "fled the scene" and "beat Tesla's security worker Tyler James with his car", resulting in "minor injuries".
Fremont police considered the case and concluded that it did not meet the elements of a hit and race, according to court records filed by Hothi's lawyer.
Police forwarded the case to the county council's law office, who refused to file a complaint, as there was insufficient evidence that Hothi beat James with his car, according to court records. Hothi never returned to the Fremont facility after that day, his lawyer said.
16. April, according to Tesla, put 3 employees in a model 3 mounted with camera equipment while trying the autonomous driving characteristics of the car. The company said in the trial that Hothi "persecuted" the staff for 35 minutes, "driving in front, next to and behind them and swinging dangerously near the vehicle", perhaps to give an answer from the car's autonomous system. The employees feared that Hothi's "guidance would cause a collision and damage them". Hothi said these statements are false.
In a legal response, Hothi's lawyer said: "Randeep was critically researched on Tesla's challenging claims" about the ability of its "full self driving" systems.
"I didn't swing any vehicle anyway," Hothi said in an interview. He assumed the video shot was shot that day would be used as marketing material, said D. Gill Sperlein, Hothi's lawyer. Hothi intended to register the car's journey to compare it with any edited version that Tesla can display in the future.
After this incident, Tesla sought and was granted a temporary retention order against Hothi.
Sperlein cited the camera's system mounted on the test car, and the eight cameras are usually installed on all Teslas to enable autonomous driving, in his request that the company provide records for use as evidence.
The case is being tried in a court specializing in workplace harassment and other cases involving limitation requests. On the same day, Hothi hearings began to hear a judge holding an argument between a bus driver and a retired bus driver who ended up with a fist, and another involved a prolonged conflict between two older neighbors where one claimed him stuck as a weapon and the other pulled one. knife and promised to "cut you like a fish". To speed up such cases, the legal discovery – the process of gathering evidence from the other side – is usually not allowed.
In Tesla's case, however, the judge made an exception and wrote it despite the company's objections based on confidentiality and privacy, among other things, "The production of such recordings would impose a minimal burden on the parties."
He added, "If some parties had such recordings and decided not to present them in the trial, then the court could tend to draw a negative influence."
Hothi told The Times he thinks there is no video showing that he is driving the way Tesla claims.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.
Next hearing is set for July 26.