Eberhard's Lawsuit v Tesla About Wrecked Roadsters & Historical Rewrites

I just finished reading all 146 PDF pages of Eberhard v. Musk et al, former Tesla Motors CEO and founder Martin Eberhard's lawsuit filed in Superior Court of California against Musk and Tesla claiming everything from libel to slander to breach of contract and more.


The suit itself is a mere 33 pages. The remaining 113 pages are devoted to corroborating evidence; for example, one page features a copy of Eberhard's 2007 W-2 (he grossed over $207,000 that year) and it boldly displays his SSN for all to see.

In sum, Eberhard is accusing Musk of a systematic whitewash of company history, of literally trying to write Martin out of the history of Tesla. Judging by the some of the media profiles, Musk is damn good at mythmaking and whitewashing.

It's clear what this suit is really about: more than these two magnificent cars, this is about the legacy of Tesla Motors.

Tesla cars
Tesla Model S Sedan on the left, the Roadster on the right

There are some tantalizing moments. For instance, a bizarre letter dated 17 January 2007, written by CEO Martin Eberhard TO Martin Eberhard assures Eberhard that he will receive the second Roadster to roll off the assembly line, known as Founder's Series Production Number: 2, a vehicle which the complaint notes "is likely to [sic] worth well above the Tesla Roadster retail price and as high as several million dollars because of its historical value."

Tesla's jazzy Los Angeles Store (left) compared to its Menlo Park Store, which frankly looks abandoned, like depressed property.

Eberhard paid $100,000 for this vehicle prior to being ousted. However, "Tesla Motors … gave this one-of-a-kind car to a different customer and a friend of Musk … Tesla wrecked Eberhard's own historic Roadster before it was delivered to him … [Eberhard's] car was delivered only after it had been smashed into the back of a truck by a Tesla Motors employee during a so-called 'endurance test' conducted on the dense and public 101 Highway."

We'll see how this plays out. The old maxim, "History is not written by the losers" is a maxim that has yet to be applied in the age of information, internet and archives.

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