Elon Musk loses fight to delay Twitter lawsuit against him; Delaware judge schedules October trial

SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk lost a fight to delay Twitter’s lawsuit against him as a Delaware judge scheduled a trial in October on Tuesday, citing the “cloud of uncertainty” over the social media company after the billionaire pulled out of a deal to buy it.

“Delay threatens irreparable harm,” said Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, chief justice of the Delaware Court of Chancery, which handles many high-profile business disputes. “The longer the delay, the greater the risk.”

RELATED: Twitter Sues to Force Elon Musk to Complete $44 Billion Acquisition

Twitter had called for an expedited trial in September, while Musk’s team called for waiting until early next year due to the complexity of the case. McCormick said Musk’s team underestimated the Delaware court’s ability to “deal with complex litigation quickly.”

Twitter is trying to force the billionaire to fulfill his April promise to buy the social media giant for $44 billion – and the company wants that to happen quickly as it says the ongoing dispute is hurting its business.

Musk, the world’s richest man, has pledged to pay $54.20 per share for Twitter but now wants out of the deal.

MORE: Elon Musk ends $44 billion deal to buy Twitter; board says it will pursue legal action

“It’s an attempt at sabotage. He’s doing his best to bring down Twitter,” said attorney William Savitt, representing Twitter in the Delaware Court of Chancery before Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick. The hearing took place virtually after McCormick said she tested positive for COVID-19.

Musk claimed the company failed to provide adequate information about the number of fake Twitter accounts, or “spam bots,” and breached its obligations under the agreement by firing senior executives and laying off a large number of employees.

Savitt said the disputed merger deal and Musk’s tweets disparaging the company are hurting the company and questioned Musk’s request for a deferred trial, asking “if the real plan is to run out of time “.

“He intends to withdraw from the agreement he signed,” Savitt said.

But the idea that the Tesla CEO is trying to harm Twitter is “absurd. He has no interest in harming the company,” Musk’s attorney Andrew Rossman said, noting he’s the second shareholder of Twitter with a stake far larger than the entire board.

Savitt stressed the importance of an accelerated trial starting in September for Twitter to make important business decisions affecting everything from employee retention to supplier and customer relationships.

Rossman said more time was needed because it is “one of the largest private transactions in history” involving a “company that has a massive amount of data that needs to be analyzed. Billions shares on their platform must be analysed”.

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