A Black temporary worker was awarded $3.2 million in a racial harassment case that initially resulted in a record $137 million judgment against vehicle manufacturer Tesla.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Owen Diaz, had worked through staffing firms at Tesla’s auto factory in Fremont, California, from June 2015 to May 2016. During that time, Diaz, who is Black, experienced several incidents of racism, according to court records.
A jury in October 2021 awarded Diaz nearly $137 million, which included $6.9 million in compensatory damages and $130 million in punitive damages.
In April 2022, US District Judge William Orrick noted the jury had ample grounds to find that Diaz was severely harmed, but its award of future damages was out of proportion to the evidence. He lowered compensatory damages to $1.5 million and punitive damages to $13.5 million, citing constitutional limitations for them of nine times the amount of compensatory damage.
Diaz rejected the reduced sum, opting for a retrial on damages. After a five-day trial, the San Francisco jury awarded Diaz $175,000 for economic losses and $3 million in punitive damages.