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Friday, January 21, 2022

Tesla Seeks Court Approval of Engineer Defamation Winning

Tesla Inc. asked a U.S. court to uphold a recent arbitrator’s ruling rejecting the former engineer’s claims that the automaker fired her and defamed her for expressing concerns about defective carpets and contracting practices.

In a petition filed with federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, Tesla said the arbitrator in a November 3 ruling found it untimely Christina Balan’s allegations that the company falsely accused her of criminal conduct in response to a 2017 Huffington Post article about her firing.

In March, a California appeals court ruled that Balan should hear libel claims because they are directly related to her work at Tesla.

On Thursday, the company asked the court to confirm the arbitrator’s decision, which gives Balan the opportunity to appeal against it.

Balan said in an email on Friday that she will seek to overturn the arbitral award “due to fraud, corruption, bias … and blatant disregard for the law.”

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In a 2019 lawsuit, Balan said she was fired shortly after she sent an email to Tesla CEO Elon Musk claiming that contracts are based on friendship, regardless of price or quality.

Balan also expressed concern about floor mats in the Tesla Model S curling under the pedals.

In a statement provided to the Huffington Post in the Balan case, Tesla argued that she was fired for using company time to work on a personal project and illegally recording conversations with colleagues.

According to court documents, Tesla praised Balan’s work prior to her dismissal, including crediting her with improving battery design.

Daniel Wissner

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