Readers know that I have been following the SEC enforcement action and the securities class action litigation arising from Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s infamous “take private” tweets. I recently noted that the court in the securities suit about the tweets ruled that the case can go forward. I am sure I am not the only one who has wondered while thinking about these events what kind of D&O insurance Tesla carries. While the question of what kind and amount of D&O insurance might be applicable to the pending claims is interesting, what may be even more interesting is that, according to a recent SEC filing, Tesla recently decided to forego D&O insurance for the current period based on an undertaking by Musk to provide the company and its board with equivalent “coverage,” as discussed below.
Continue Reading In Lieu of D&O Insurance, Musk Agrees to Provide Tesla with “Coverage”

In a now infamous August 7, 2018 post on his Twitter account, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” This post and several subsequent messages ultimately were the subject of an SEC enforcement proceeding (later settled) as well as several securities class action lawsuits (later consolidated). On April 15, 2020, Northern District of California Edward Chen denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the consolidated securities lawsuit, finding that the “take private” Tweet and other messages were false and misleading. Judge Chen’s opinion is of interest because of the high-profile nature of the allegations, but also for what it says about corporate securities liability exposure for executives’ social media statements. Judge Chen’s opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Musk’s “Take Private” Tweets Held Actionable

John Reed Stark

 As I detailed in a post at the time (here), on Thursday last week, the SEC filed a securities fraud enforcement action against Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk in connection with his now infamous tweets, in which he said he had “secured” funding to take the company private at a substantial premium over the company’s then-current share price. On Saturday, September 29, 2018, the SEC announced in a press release (here) that it had reached a settlement of the action with Musk, as well as in a separate action against Tesla filed simultaneously with the settlement. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, the President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at the SEC’s enforcement actions and settlements with Musk and Tesla and provides his insight about what these developments may signify as far as the SEC’s enforcement posture regarding communications on the Internet. A version of this article originally appeared on the Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: The SEC/Musk/Tesla Settlement: The Dawning of a New Era of SEC Internet Enforcement

Elon Musk’s August 7, 2018 Tweets, in which he had “secured” funding to take Tesla private at a substantial premium over the then-current share price, have already produced a storm of controversy and a series of securities class action lawsuits against him and the company. The Tesla CEO’s now-infamous Tweets have now also led to a SEC enforcement action against him, in which the agency alleges that Musk’s statements in the Tweets were “false and/or misleading” because “he did not have an adequate basis in fact for making these assertions.” The agency seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, civil penalties, and a bar prohibiting Musk from serving as an officer or director of any public company. The SEC’s complaint against Musk can be found here. The SEC’s September 27, 2018 press release about the enforcement action can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Files Securities Fraud Suit Against Elon Musk Over Take-Private Tweets

I have long thought that it was only a matter of time before somebody filed a securities class action lawsuit based on disclosures made through social media. I knew we were going to see that lawsuit someday or other. Well, the day has arrived. On Friday, August 10, 2018, two Tesla investors each filed separate securities class action lawsuits against Tesla, Inc. and its Chairman, CEO, and largest shareholder, Elon Musk, based on Musk’s tweets last Tuesday that he was considering a take-private deal for which he had “secured” funding and that only shareholder approval was required for completion of the deal. As discussed below, there are a host of interesting things about the lawsuit and about the surrounding circumstances.
Continue Reading Tesla Investors File Securities Suits Over Elon Musk’s Take-Private Tweets