Tesla wins lawsuit against former employee accused of hacking company data

Tesla has won its case against Martin Tripp, a former employee of the company’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, who was accused of hacking the company’s manufacturing operating system at the production facility. The lawsuit has been ongoing since 2018.

Tesla labeled Tripp as a saboteur who had leaked documents related to the company’s scrap at Gigafactory Nevada, along with claims that Tesla had installed faulty battery cells into packs that were equipped for the Model 3 sedan.

After reports that Tripp was leaking sensitive information about the automaker, Tesla filed a massive lawsuit that stated he “unlawfully [hacked] into the company’s confidential and trade secret information.” The information was reportedly leaked to media outlets and third parties.

Tripp then countersued Tesla with a defamation lawsuit, that claimed he was exposing Giga Nevada’s work conditions that were less than favorable for employees at the production facility. Tesla’s lawsuit indicated that Tripp’s description made Gigafactory conditions look much worse than they were in reality.

It appears the case has come to a close, just a few weeks after Tripp fired his lawyers, which were reportedly funded by Tesla short-sellers, and chose to represent himself instead. Tripp denied that he received money from short-sellers to fund his litigation proceedings.

According to an article from Reutersthe lawsuit was closed and Tesla was declared the victor. The U.S. District Court of Nevada stated in its ruling that Tesla’s wishes to have the case sealed will be granted “because compelling reasons support them, and they are unopposed.”

Tripp filed a motion for leave to file an additional reply, but it was denied as the Court cited it as “unnecessary.”

Interestingly, the lawsuit wasn’t won on Tesla’s claim that Tripp’s actions cost the company $167 million in damages due to stock prices falling. It was won because Tripp’s actions were deemed to be unaligned with the Nevada Computer Crimes Law, or NCCL.

Tripp’s work against Tesla was illegal according to the NCCL because although he was an employee and had access to company information, he did not have the authorization to use it. This is explicitly outlined in the NCCL. Tripp also admitted that he was not authorized to use the data in the manner that he used it, according to legal documents.

Ultimately, the long-lived saga of Tesla v. Tripp may be over in a courtroom, for now. But Judge Miranda Du stated it was one of the more interesting cases she has been apart of. “Tripp, a single, non-executive-level employee, got into a very public dispute directly with the CEO of his former employer that generated its own news cycle. That is unusual,” she said.

Tesla vs. Martin Tripp ruling pdf by Joey Klender on Scribd