Elon Musk is trying to appeal a judge’s finding that his 2018 tweet about taking Tesla Inc. private was false.
Musk, and other defendants in a shareholder lawsuit over the tweet, asked U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen in San Francisco to certify the order so it can be appealed. Pretrial orders generally can’t be appealed.
The shareholders claim that Musk’s “indisputably false” August 2018 tweet and follow-up posts on Twitter cost them billions of dollars amid wild swings in Tesla’s stock price. A trial is scheduled for January. Chen ruled April 1 that no jury could find that Musk’s tweet wasn’t misleading.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
But in a court filing Friday, Musk’s lawyers argued that the judge “parsed the individual phrases of the various tweets and indicated certain other information should have accompanied the tweets, even though the short-form Twitter medium limits the number of characters per tweet.”
The court must consider that the statements were made on social media, and not in a regulatory filing when analyzing whether a statement is misleading, the lawyers wrote.
“Defendants do not seek interlocutory appeal for purposes of delay; to the contrary, defendants are not seeking a stay of the scheduled January 2023 trial, and anticipate proceeding expeditiously to obtain resolution from the Ninth Circuit before trial,” the lawyers wrote in the filing.
The case is In re Tesla Inc. Securities Litigation, 18-cv-04865, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).