Elon Musk still doesn’t have a case

I’m in Reno tonight and I can’t say I’m thrilled about heading back to a place where I feel surrounded by barbarians, where I’ll have to put at least the Uber stickers back on and go back to work driving.

For now, however, the car is loaded with a fraction of the stuff my mother has been keeping for me.


Twitter

I’ve seen a number of articles suggesting that Elon Musk is on fairly weak legal ground trying to get out of his purchase agreement for Twitter, an agreement in which he waived due diligence.[1] But if you really want the gory details, which I do not quote here, you’re going to want to read Ankush Khardori’s article for New York Magazine:[2]

Whether we actually get a trial [in lawsuits between Elon Musk and Twitter] remains to be seen. On the surface, these major corporate cases tend to look like intractable conflicts headed toward a dramatic final verdict that will give one side total victory and the other total defeat. But from the inside, they tend to be subtle tactical battles where the only real stakes are slightly more or less favorable terms of an inevitable deal. Most major corporate cases settle before trial — the actual litigation functions as a sort of proxy drama over the eventual terms. If things are going well for your side in the early going, you adjust your settlement demands upward and vice versa. Billionaires and large public companies generally do not like uncertainty, and for that reason, they tend to avoid trials with huge amounts of money on the line, which can be the most uncertain of undertakings. (Of course, one question that looms over this particular proceeding is whether the world’s richest man might be playing by a different set of rules.) . . .

It’s not wrong to say that [Musks’ lawyers’] top objective here is to plausibly find ways to waste everyone’s time [forestalling a summary judgment in the company’s favor].[3]

It still doesn’t look like Elon Musk has a case:

Twitter v. Musk does not have the hallmarks of one of these cash-cow disputes — to put it mildly. After Twitter filed its lawsuit against [Elon] Musk, most legal observers quickly concluded, with good reason, that Twitter is on much stronger legal footing than Musk is. (One expert I spoke with before Musk’s filing on Friday, who asked not to be quoted by name, went so far as to say that Skadden [Musk’s lawyers] “should be feeling a little embarrassed” about the weakness of Musk’s defense.)[4]

While we don’t know much about Musk’s countersuit, “the length and quality of a legal filing are often inversely correlated,” Khardori writes, “and again, Musk’s overriding strategic objective is to make this litigation as unwieldy and convoluted as possible even if he ultimately has little to work with.”[5]

Given Khardori’s explanation—he says the judge will want to at least appear to give both sides a hearing[6]—I really have to wonder just how much of Musk’s nonsense that judge will be willing to put up with.

Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html


  1. [1]William D. Cohan, “The Musk Reckoning,” Puck News, July 10, 2022, https://puck.news/the-musk-reckoning/; William D. Cohan, “The Case Against Elon,” Puck News, July 17, 2022, https://puck.news/the-case-against-elon/; Elizabeth Dwoskin and Gerrit De Vynck, “Judge grants Elon Musk an October court date, in early win for Twitter,” Washington Post, July 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/07/19/twitter-elon-musk-trial/; Danny Fortson, “Erratic Elon Musk leaves Twitter with three unbearable choices,” Times, July 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/erratic-elon-musk-leaves-twitter-with-three-unbearable-choices-g3tg5zlbt; Cara Lombardo and Sarah E. Needleman, “Twitter Sues Elon Musk to Enforce $44 Billion Merger,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-sues-elon-musk-over-attempt-to-walk-away-from-44-billion-deal-11657660307; Cara Lombardo and Robert Wall, “Twitter Didn’t Seek a Sale. Now Elon Musk Doesn’t Want to Buy. Cue Strange Legal Drama,” Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-twitter-strange-legal-fight-11657488572; Faiz Siddiqui and Gerrit De Vynck, “Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is in peril,” Washington Post, July 7, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/07/07/elon-musk-twitter-jeopardy/
  2. [2]Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html
  3. [3]Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html
  4. [4]Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html
  5. [5]Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html
  6. [6]Ankush Khardori, “I Used to Work on Cases Like Twitter v. Musk. Here’s What Will Happen Next,” New York, July 30, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/07/what-will-happen-next-with-the-twitter-v-musk-lawsuit.html

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