Indian-American student win against Elon Musk in a defamation case


An Indian American student in California gets one up against the American billionaire and electric car manufacturer Elon Musk.

A California state judge has downturned the CEO of Tesla Inc’s case against Randeep Hothi who sued Musk for defaming him.

Hothi, a Tesla short-seller who had said in August 2020 that Musk had defamed him and even hampered his reputation by writing an email claiming that Hothi has “almost killed Tesla employees”. The Tesla CEO had attempted to overturn the lawsuit but his remained unsuccessful.

Hothi, a University of Michigan graduate student known as “@skabooshka” on Twitter, drew Musk’s wrath two years ago after two incidents, both of which Hothi claims were harmless.

As per the Bloomberg report, US judge Julia Spain of Alameda County Superior Court in California dismissed the claims made by Elon Musk that Hothi’s lawsuit was baseless and an attempt to stifle Tesla CEO’s free speech.

As per reports, in a ruling published on January 27, the judge said that there were grounds for a trial and added that Hothi could win.

In the first, in February 2019, Hothi was confronted by a security guard when he showed up — to do research, he says — at the Tesla sales center in Fremont, California. In the second, in April 2019, Hothi said he was driving when he spotted a Tesla test car and took photos of it, which he later posted online.

Musk complained about Hothi in an email to an online tech editor, describing him as a liar and accusing him of “almost” killing Tesla employees when he was trying to drive away from the sales center.

Judge Spain has ruled that Musk’s remarks about the Tesla critic were not protected under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute that allows lawsuits to be dismissed quickly if they interfere with the defendant’s free speech because Tesla did not showcase that Musk’s remarks came in connection with a matter of public interest.

Hothi claimed that Musk triggered an online hate campaign against him in the complaint he filed in August in Alameda County Superior Court.

Musk asked the judge to strike the lawsuit on the grounds that what he said involved a matter of public interest — making it protected speech — and that Hothi couldn’t prove the statements were untrue or made with malice.

In a brief written ruling, Judge Spain concluded there are issues suitable for a trial over whether Musk’s statements were true. She also said Hothi showed that he can probably win the lawsuit.