Elon Musk fails to get Indian American student’s defamation lawsuit struck out

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(L-R) Randeep Hothi, Elon Musk(Image Source: Twitter/ TradrFloridaFIL and Gerrard_deep)

Randeep Hothi  a University of Michigan graduate student filed a lawsuit in August in Alameda County Superior Court claiming that Elon Musk set off an online hate campaign against him. 

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk failed to get defamation sued against the company by an Indian American student thrown out. A California state judge rejected Musk’s argument that the lawsuit filed by Randeep Hothi was baseless and should be thrown out as an attempt to hamper the billionaire’s free speech. 

Hothi is a University of Michigan graduate student known as “@skabooshka” on Twitter. Two years ago, he drew Musk’s wrath after two instances, both of which Hothi claims were harmless. According to Hothi, in the first incident in February 2019, he was confronted by a security guard when he showed up to carry out research at the Tesla sales center in Fremont, California.  In April 2019, in the second incident, Hothi stated that he was driving when he saw a Tesla test car and took photos of it, which he later posted online.

Musk emailed an online tech editor, complaining about Hothi and described him as a liar, and accused him of “almost” killing Tesla employees when he was trying to drive away from the sales center.

Hothi filed a lawsuit in August in Alameda County Superior Court claiming that Musk triggered an online hate campaign against him. 

Musk requested the judge to strike the defamation lawsuit on the grounds that what he said was a matter of public interest, making it protected speech, and that Hothi couldn’t prove the statements were false or made with malice.

Judge Julia Spain in a brief written ruling stated that there are issues suitable for a trial over whether Musk’s statements were true. She further added that Hothi showed that he can probably win the lawsuit.

Also Read: Bengaluru is home to Tesla’s first India office

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