Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, lost one of the largest court cases in American history when he was forced to give up his $56 billion compensation package due to a lawsuit brought by an unexpected opponent, who turned out to be a former heavy metal drummer.
In 2018, Richard Tornetta filed a lawsuit against Musk at the time the Pennsylvanian had just nine Tesla shares. In the end, the matter went to trial in late 2022, and on Tuesday, a judge found in favour of Tornetta, nullifying the substantial compensation agreement on the grounds that it was unjust to him and the other Tesla shareholders, according to Reuters.
Both Tornetta and his lawyer declined to comment when contacted for comment.
Prior to Tornetta’s case, Musk had won several lawsuits in which he was charged with breaking securities laws, defamation, and breach of duty to shareholders.
Tornetta’s online persona suggests that he is more interested in building audio equipment for enthusiasts who customise cars than pursuing corporate excess and wrongdoing.
He’s shared humorous videos of himself creating devices or embarrassing moments, such as when he burned his eyebrows.
Videos of Tornetta drumming with his now-defunct metal band “Dawn of Correction” at the storied former New York bar CBGB have also surfaced. The band’s sound was described as “a swift kick to the face with a steel-toed work boot.”
Supporters of Tesla and Musk appeared to view the case as a mockery of justice on social media, where they conjectured about Tornetta’s motivations and political affiliations and questioned how one investor with such tiny ownership could have such influence.
Numerous examples involving small-scale private investors whose names ended up influencing American corporate law can be found in Delaware corporate case law.