Public policy favors $7 billion fee award in Musk pay case, Tesla shareholder’s lawyer says


Source: Reuters

A record $7 billion in attorneys’ fees for three firms that successfully challenged Elon Musk’s $56 billion Tesla pay package provides an incentive for lawyers to hold corporate boards accountable, an attorney for a company shareholder told a Delaware judge.

The fee Richard Tornetta, who owned nine shares of Tesla when he sued over Musk’s pay package in 2018, has asked for on behalf of the firms equals around $7.3 billion at Tesla’s Monday stock price and amounts to a rate of roughly $370,000 for every hour worked by the 37 lawyers, associates and paralegals, court documents submitted by Tornetta’s lawyers showed.

Tornetta’s attorney Greg Varallo said the shareholder’s legal team was seeking far less than the law allows, which is up to 33% of the benefit to Tesla from the lawsuit. He said the January ruling was the largest judgment ever by an American court, excluding punitive damages, and argued that Tornetta’s lawyers should receive 11% of that judgment paid in the form of 29 million Tesla shares.

The Musk case took a dramatic turn when Tesla shareholders in June voted to ratify Musk’s pay, which Tesla has argued corrected the flaws in the 2018 process that McCormick identified in her ruling. The company argues that Musk’s pay package has been restored and that Tornetta’s legal victory has been transformed into a loss.

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