Tesla Lawsuit Against Rivian Moves Forward in California Superior Court

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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tesla lawsuit against rivian moves forward in california superior court

The lawsuits continue against EV startup Rivian. Though it hasn’t built any vehicles to date, the company has an aggressive plan to manufacture its “Tesla killer” vehicles at the former Diamond Star Motors plant at Normal, Illinois, and sell its wares directly to customers via nine showrooms across the nation. Various parties take issue with both the building and selling facets at Rivian, and the company has lawsuits with dealers in Illinois as well as Tesla.

Just yesterday we reported the company was being sued by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, which claims the state laws do not permit direct-to-consumer sales. Today, there’s news out of California about the other lawsuit against Rivian – the one where Tesla says the company stole its secrets.

Tesla started up the lawsuit in July of 2020 and claimed Rivian was “…knowingly encouraging the misappropriation of Tesla’s trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information by Tesla employees that Rivian hires.”

Tesla went on to claim in the suit that there was a pattern of employees leaving Tesla for Rivian and taking the aforementioned trade secret information with them. And it could be quite a bit of information, as in the lawsuit Tesla claimed that Rivian hired away 178 of its employees.

Rivian denied the allegations and continued to do so. The company says that Tesla only has a problem with Rivian because it knows Rivian is so threatening and wants to shut down any competition in the electric-car industry. Rivian motioned for a dismissal of the suit in the California Superior Court.

Today, judge William Monahan declined Rivian’s ask that the misappropriation of trade secrets claim be thrown out. In a win, the judge did dismiss Tesla’s “intentional interference in contract” claim and said the trade secrets claim covered that portion. Rivian also asked for dismissal of Tesla’s claims against seven former employees who now work for Rivian. The selected employees are the ones Tesla claims definitely disclosed trade secrets to Rivian after their departure. The judge declined Rivian’s request to dismiss.

It will take a while to reach the Summit of this legal action, as Galant lawyers on both sides have their Talons ready. Stay tuned.

[Image: Rivian, Tesla]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.

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6 of 11 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 30, 2021

    • Highly reliable • Dramatically fewer moving parts • Better torque characteristics, with no transmission required • Significantly quieter For these reasons and many others, my future vehicles will all be utilizing the proven and familiar technology of steam propulsion.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Mar 31, 2021

      You know, I do wonder what modern tech could do with steam. Take something like the Doble and replace all the rube goldberg control systems with modern solid state electronics and bring modern aerospace coatings and insulation to the hot bits. I'd be curious. I wouldn't buy one, but I bet it would at least perform well. Then again, given how we generate electricity, odds are pretty solid that a modern EV is in fact steam powered.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Mar 31, 2021

    As I understand it, poaching employees is common practice with tech companies, so it makes sense why Tesla would be doing this.

    • See 2 previous
    • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Mar 31, 2021

      @SCE to AUX "Some workers even have a non-compete contract that prevents them from working for a competitor for two years" Can you name an instance when that contract is enforceable? Non-compete clauses are a joke. Good luck attempting to limit someone's ability for employment in a jury trial.

  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
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  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.
  • IBx1 Awww my first comment got deletedTake your “millennial anti theft device” trope and wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones keeping manuals around.