In Musk-Twitter War, First Legal Battle Goes to Twitter

Judge shoots down Musk's request to delay trial until next year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2022 12:43 PM CDT
The Musk-Twitter Battle Will Get Going in October
The Twitter suit against Elon Musk is going to trial in October.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

(Newser) – Elon Musk lost a fight to delay Twitter’s lawsuit against him as a Delaware judge on Tuesday set an October trial, citing the "cloud of uncertainty" over the social media company after the billionaire backed out of a deal to buy it, per the AP. "Delay threatens irreparable harm," said Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the head judge of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, which handles many high-profile business disputes. "The longer the delay, the greater the risk." Twitter had asked for an expedited trial in September, while Musk’s team called for waiting until early next year because of the complexity of the case. McCormick said Musk’s team underestimated the Delaware court’s ability to "quickly process complex litigation."

Twitter is trying to force the billionaire to make good on his April promise to buy the social media giant for $44 billion—and the company wants it to happen quickly because it says the ongoing dispute is harming its business. Musk, the world’s richest man, pledged to pay $54.20 a share for Twitter, but now wants to back out of the agreement. "It's attempted sabotage. He's doing his best to run Twitter down,” said attorney William Savitt, representing Twitter in court. The hearing was held virtually after McCormick said she tested positive for COVID-19.

Savitt said the contested merger agreement and Musk’s tweets disparaging the company were inflicting harm on the business and questioned Musk’s request for a delayed trial, asking "whether the real plan is to run out the clock." "He’s banking on wriggling out of the deal he signed," Savitt said. The idea the Tesla CEO is trying to damage Twitter is "preposterous," countered Musk's attorney, Andrew Rossman; he noted Musk is Twitter’s second largest shareholder with a far larger stake than the entire board. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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