Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric-vehicle maker been wrong to lower the maximum charging capacity for some vehicles.
“If we are wrong, we are wrong,” he said on Twitter on Friday. “In this case, we were.”
Tesla agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle claims it had reduced the charging capacity on some vehicles in 2019, according to a settlement agreement filed in US District Court in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The agreement included payments of $625 each to the owners of 1,743 Model S vehicles that temporarily had their maximum charging capacity reduced.
In another Friday tweet Musk expanded on his company’s thinking about lawsuits and other claims.
“Tesla policy is never to give in to false claims, even if we would lose, and never to fight true claims, even if we would win,” he said.
The settlement agreement would bring to a close a class-action lawsuit filed in August 2019 by David Rasmussen, who said a software update reduced the range and charging speed of his Model S.
The lawsuit said the company released the update in May 2019, limiting battery charging on some vehicles by about 10%. After three months of a 10% reduction, it was lowered to 7% for seven months, the lawsuit said. Software updates in May 2020 restored much of the charging capacity, court filings said.
The settlement would provide “many times” the $175 estimated loss per vehicle, according to court filings.
A hearing on the settlement agreement was scheduled for December 9 with Judge Beth Labson Freeman.
California’s fair employment agency filed a lawsuit against gaming giant Activision Blizzard on Tuesday, accusing the Call of Duty publisher of a “pervasive frat boy” in which female employees were routinely harassed.
In one alleged incident, a “newly promoted male supervisor delegated his responsibilities to his now female subordinates in favor of playing Call of Duty,” the filing said.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard and two subsidiaries – Activision Publishing and World of Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment – after a two-year investigation into working conditions for female staff, Bloomberg Law first reported.
DFEH said in Tuesday’s filing to the Los Angeles Supreme Court that women at the company were discriminated against, subjected to “constant sexual harassment,” groped, paid less for “substantially similar work,” and retaliated against by company HR when they complained.
“Unsurprisingly, [the] Defendants’ ‘frat boy’ culture is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” the lawsuit said.
A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said in a statement that “the picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”
“The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived,” the statement said.
“We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind,” the spokesperson said.
“We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.”
The lawsuit detailed claims that some male workers engaged in “cube crawls” where they would “drink copious amounts of alcohol” and move between cubicles in the office, often behaving inappropriately towards their female coworkers.
Some male workers made sexual advances to female employees on the World of Warcraft team, and also made derogatory comments about rape, the lawsuit claimed.
The agency said in the filing that one female Activision Blizzard worker died by suicide during a business trip. A male coworker she had previously had a sexual relationship with was also on the trip, the suit said. Police found that the male supervisor had brought a butt plug and lubricant on the trip, DFEH said.
Another employee said the woman had suffered sexual harassment at work before her death, DFEH said.
It is not clear when the trip happened. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement to Insider that the employee’s suicide had “no bearing whatsoever on this case.”
The lawsuit alleged that Activision Blizzard’s female workers – which it said makes up around 20% of its workforce – were also promoted more slowly, while women in executive roles earned “less salary, incentive pay, and total compensation than their male peers,” citing Activision Blizzard’s own records with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
DFEH said that it filed the suit on grounds of unequal pay, sex discrimination, unlawful sexual harassment, retaliation, and for failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The agency said it was suing in the public interest and for Activision Blizzard’s female employees.
The agency is seeking compensation and punitive damages, and unpaid and lost wages for female workers, among other demands, although did not specify how much.
Sega’s Key Master arcade game is at the center of a class-action complaint that says the game is intentionally rigged against players.
The lawsuit, filed on Monday in California, said the game was “systematically marketed and sold” as a game of “pure skill” but is instead rigged to “prevent even highly-skilled users from being able to win” until there’s been a set number of losses.
Plaintiff Marcelo Muto is suing the company for $5 million.
“Nowhere on the Key Master Machine do Defendants inform consumers of the truth: that the machines are rigged so that players can only win prizes at certain times,” lawyers for Muto said in the lawsuit.
The game is found in arcades and malls across the country, Screen Rant reported.
Players have to hit a button to move a key into a specific keyhole to win prizes like earbuds and video games.
The lawsuit said that even if a highly skilled player were to move the key into a specific keyhole for a prize, if it’s not in a pre-programmed time that allows for a win, the game will overshoot the keyhole and the player would lose. There are multiple YouTube videos with tips and tricks on how to beat the game that acknowledge the issue.
In the lawsuit, Muto’s lawyers said the default number of losses on a machine is set to 700 before winning is allowed. They added that each machine can also be individually programmed to any number of losses before a win.
The lawsuit said Sega made the switch because they realized regulations in many places in the world don’t allow the Key Master game. They added that a conversion kit that was sold to remodel Key Master machines into more skill-based machines also shows Sega was aware of the issue.
“Defendants have refused to cease their deceptive conduct and continue to manufacture and advertise the Key Master Machines as games of skill, as opposed to the illicit gambling machines they truly are,” the lawsuit said. “This refusal, and continued marketing of the Key Master Machines as games of skill, only serve the profit interests of Defendants.”
This isn’t the first time the Key Master game has caused controversy. Tucson.com reported in 2019 that a vendor settled a $1 million lawsuit over the game. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the game was set up to only allow someone to win after 2,200 attempts and that it was more like a chance-based game, which are only legal in casinos in the state.
Several abortion-rights groups and providers filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday to block a Texas law that would allow people to sue abortion clinics, doctors, and anyone else helping someone get an abortion in the state after six weeks.
The law, signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May and set to take effect in September, invites private citizens, even those outside of Texas, to help enforce the state’s six-week abortion ban, awarding them with at least $10,000 per each successful court challenge.
The law will “incentivize anyone who disapproves of a patient’s abortion – a relative, an abusive partner, or even a stranger – to sue the provider and obtain a court order stopping the abortion,” the group of plaintiffs, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with several abortion providers, said in a press release.
The groups argue that the law violates “constitutional right to privacy and liberty as established by Roe v. Wade,” the landmark Supreme Court decision that granted the right to abortion almost 50 years ago.
The Texas law, known as SB 8, is one of a slew of restrictive “heartbeat” abortion bans recently enacted by Republican governors. The law seeks to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs at the six-week mark, a time when some people don’t know they are pregnant.
But the Texas law is unique from the others in that it authorizes individuals, and not state government officials, to enforce the ban.
“This new law would open the floodgates to frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt health centers, harass providers, and isolate patients from anyone who would treat them with compassion as they seek out health care,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “The cruelty is the point – and we will not let it stand.”
Musk gave lengthy responses to yes or no questions during the trial at Delaware’s Court of Chancery, frustrating opposing attorney Randall Baron, who told Musk he was holding up the trial, delawareonline.com and AP reported.
Musk told Baron that some of his questions were “really tricky and deceptive,” per AP.
“I think you are a bad human being,” Musk also told Baron, after the lawyer asked him if he was being “derisive” in his answers to questions, per The Washington Post.
“You were mentored by criminals, then you continued to be mentored by criminals,” Musk said to Baron, the Post reported. Musk cited examples of criminal wrongdoing by a former partner at a firm that was a predecessor to Baron’s law firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, the Post reported.
Musk denied that he had benefited from the deal. “Since it was a stock-for-stock transaction and I owned almost exactly the same percentage of both there was no financial gain,” he told the court, per CNBC.
In an email to Insider, Baron said that the full damages sought by the lawsuit were between $2.2 and $2.6 billion, although Musk could pay less if found liable.
SolarCity became Tesla’s solar power division, Tesla Energy, after the acquisition. Insider spoke to Tesla Energy solar panel owners earlier this year who said Tesla had not responded to their calls and bumped up solar roof prices by thousands.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider when reached for comment.
Do you work at Tesla Energy or are you a Tesla Energy customer? Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an employee always use a non-work email.
Key Watergate figure John Dean told CNN he’d pay to handle former President Donald Trump’s deposition that Trump said he wanted to voluntarily do in a lawsuit he filed against Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
“I would pay to do that deposition. I think a lot of attorneys would,” Dean told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday.
A federal judge has blocked a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to maintain COVID-19 restrictions on Florida cruise ships.
Florida District Judge Steven Merryday said in the court filing on Wednesday that his decision was “not about what health precautions against COVID-19 are necessary or helpful” but “about the use and misuse of governmental power.”
The legal battle started in April, when the state of Florida sued the CDC over its stringent rules for the cruise industry, called a Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), which the CDC introduced in October 2020. The CDC had “singled out” the industry, which “as a result, is on the brink of financial ruin,” the state said in the filing.
Under CSO rules added in May, cruise ships can only set sail normally when at least 95% of people on board, including the crew, are fully vaccinated. If not, ship operators must take volunteers on “test” cruises to show they can mitigate COVID-19 transmission.
Merryday said in Wednesday’s court order that the CDC’s “dark allusions” about the prospect of COVID-19 transmission on cruises ignored “state and local health authorities, the industry’s self-regulation, and the thorough and costly preparations and accommodations by all concerned to avoid ‘transmission’ and to confine and control the ‘transmission,’ if one occurs.”
The pandemic has hit the cruise industry hard since its outbreak last year. Cruise ship giant Carnival reported a $2.9 billion net loss in the third quarter of 2020, it said in an earnings filing.
A man who works as a driver for rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber in Chicago last week filed a lawsuit against the CDC over its federal mask mandate, saying it was unconstitutional.
Justin Mahwikizi said in his complaint that the mask mandate limited both his freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He said that’s because he’s had to refuse service to unmasked passengers.
“It’s against my Christian beliefs to refuse service to someone in need, referring to the Good Samaritan parable of Jesus Christ and the Bible,” he told Insider in a phone interview on Saturday. “And so I’m arguing that the CDC is infringing on my religious practice rights that’s forcing me to deny service to someone in need.”
The lawsuit came amid a broader discussion about whether the CDC should update its stance on mask-wearing for fully vaccinated travellers. The CDC’s guidance from January 29 ordered all travellers to cover their faces when on public transit, including planes, buses, and rideshares.
Sen. Ted Cruz late last month led a group of senators in announcing a bill that sought an end to federal mask mandates for those who’ve had their shots.
Others have called for travellers to continue wearings masks. Transportation secretary Pete Buttigeig in late May said wearing a mask was a “matter of safety, but it’s also a matter of respect.”
Mahwikizi in his lawsuit sought a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to stop the CDC and the Dept. of Health & Human Services from enforcing mask mandates.
“The [mandate] is arbitrary, irrational, and capricious because the Federal Defendants failed to reasonably explain why other measures are insufficient to tackle the rapidly declining COVID-19 infection and death rates,” he wrote.
Insider has reached out to the CDC for comment.
Mahwikizi, who’s representing himself, said he mostly works in the Chicago area, but sometimes takes passengers into Indiana or Wisconsin. He said he’s found himself in a few situations where he had to leave potential customers behind because they didn’t have their faces covered.
“The acceptance of service is a form of free speech,” he wrote in his complaint, filed Monday in US District Court in the Northern District of Illinois.
He started drafting his complaint a few months ago. When Lucas Wall last month sued seven airlines, Mahwikizi followed the news coverage.
He said he reached out to Wall for some advice on handling federal rules and procedures, since Wall was also representing himself.
Subway has accused a group of leading US pork producers of taking part in a long-running illegal conspiracy to fix wholesale prices.
In a late-June lawsuit filed in US District Court in Connecticut, the chain said pork producers who control about 80% of the wholesale market in the US shared data that they wouldn’t in “a normal, competitive market.”
The price-fixing complaint centered on the statistics company Agri Stats, which was also named as a defendant.
Subway said the pork producers used Agri Stats to share information about “profits, prices, costs, and production levels.” Some of the information was forward-looking.
“The effect of this information exchange allowed Defendants to coordinate their anticompetitive conduct, monitor each other’s production, and thereby control pork supply and price in furtherance of their anticompetitive scheme,” lawyers for Subway wrote in their complaint.
The suit named a group of defendants with more than $20 billion in annual pork sales. They were: Agri Stats, Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods, and a few named subsidiaries. The companies did not respond to Insiders requests for comment.
A Subway spokesperson told Insider that the lawsuit was part of its efforts to protect its franchisees.
“As small-business owners, our Subway Franchisees have felt the impact of artificially manipulated and unlawfully inflated pork costs for more than a decade,” the spokesperson said. “We are vindicating on their behalf the pork industry’s harmful, anticompetitive behavior.”
The pork-processing market has become more concentrated over time, but “the economics of the pork market will make it difficult” for Subway to win the case, said William G. Tomek, professor emeritus at Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.
“The margin between farm and retail has increased, but so have the costs of transporting, processing, etc.,” Tomek told Insider. “To prove that any of this increase is related to monopoly power would be difficult.”
Subway in its complaint said Agri Stats went out of its way to conceal its methods. The lawsuit included a 2009 quote from Agri Stats President Blair Snyder, who said in part: “We don’t advertise. We don’t talk about what we do.”
The complaint detailed the rise of pork prices after 2009, when the pork producers began using Agri Stats.
Prices had hovered around $1.40 per lb. in the decade before 2009, then “increased dramatically” after the companies began using Agri Stats, according to the complaint. Prices averaged about 28% higher, or around $1.80 per lb., in the following years.
Pork prices grew at a rate faster than other food products, driven by wholesale increases instead of retail increases, Subway said.
Subway’s lawsuit was filed by a wholly owned subsidiary: Subway Protein Litigation Group. The complaint said Subway overpaid for pork since 2009, but won’t know by how much until the lawsuit goes into discovery.
Kanye West sued Walmart on Thursday, accusing the retail giant of selling knockoff versions of his Yeezy Foam Runners.
The billionaire’s lawsuit alleges that Walmart has been profiting off his name by selling foam sliders that look “virtually indistinguishable” from his Yeezy Foam Runners. West is suing to have the shoes removed from Walmart’s site, as well as for monetary damages. The suit said the Yeezy brand is worth ‘billions’ of dollars and the company believes it has suffered damages in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The lawsuit said that West has built the Yeezy brand off of his success as an American icon and Walmart is profiting off his image, pointing to celebrities, including his former wife Kim Kardashian and other public figures like Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg, who have been photographed wearing Yeezy shoes.
The Yeezy brand said in the suit that the shoes caught its attention when posts on numerous social-media sites started taking off by advertising that people could buy the shoes, that some users called “budget Yeezys,” on Walmart’s website. The lawsuit argues that the Walmart shoes would not have sold if they had not been recognized as similar to Yeezys.
The Yeezy brand initially reached out to Walmart on Wednesday to pull the shoes from their online marketplace, but said as of its court filing date on Thursday that Walmart had failed to pull the product.
A Walmart spokesperson told Insider the company is actively reviewing the claim. An Adidas spokesperson declined to comment.
“The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers,” the Walmart spokesperson said.
As of Friday, Insider was unable to find the foam runners on Walmart’s website that were pictured in the lawsuit, as well as the initial TMZ report. The shoes were be sold by third-party sellers, including sellers listed as Daeful and LUXUR. The lawsuit said Yeezy had identified up to 10 sellers on the site, but had not been able to ascertain their identity. Insider has attempted to reach out to Daeful, and was unable to find contact information for LUXOR.
West said the “subpar” Walmart shoes have not only cut into Yeezy’s market share, but have also impacted the brand’s reputation, pointing to reviews on the site that say the imitations shoes are “garbage” and “ripped after 20 minutes.”
Thursday’s suit comes a few months after a dispute between West and Walmart over a logo that the rapper wants to use for Yeezy. Walmart said it had reached out to the Adidas brand five times over concerns that Yeezy’s new logo was too similar to Walmart’s own logo and would “create a false affiliation” between the two brands that could damage Walmart’s “goodwill.”
At the time, a Yeezy representative did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but people close to West have said it is unlikely that Yeezy would try to affiliate the brand with Walmart’s image.