Ex-Tesla Worker in Racism Case Turns Down Jury Award After Judge Cuts It 89%

A former Tesla Inc. contractor has refused to accept $15 million in damages over racist abuse he was subjected to at the electric vehicle maker’s northern California factory after a judge drastically slashed a $137 million jury verdict.

Owen Diaz on Tuesday told US District Judge William Orrick that he won’t agree to the the 89% cut. Instead, Diaz plans to seek a new trial, his lawyer Larry Organ said.

“In rejecting the court’s excessive reduction by asking for a new trial, Mr. Diaz is again asking a jury of his peers to evaluate what Tesla did to him and to provide just compensation for the torrent of racist slurs that was directed at him,” Organ said in an emailed statement. “Mr. Diaz seeks to restore a fair and just punitive damages award that will punish and deter Tesla for the racist conduct to which Mr. Diaz was subjected and to prevent future harassment from occurring.”

In October, Diaz won what’s believed to be one of the largest verdicts in US history for an individual plaintiff in a racial discrimination case, following a seven-day trial in San Francisco.

Orrick had denied Tesla’s request for a new trial, based on the condition that Diaz accept the reduced award.