Elon Musk Triumphs as Judge Dismisses $500M Severance Claim by Ex-Twitter Staff

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A federal judge has ruled in favor of Elon Musk, dismissing a lawsuit brought by former Twitter employees seeking approximately $500 million in severance payments allegedly owed following Musk’s acquisition of the social media giant in 2022. Judge Trina Thompson concluded that the employees did not sufficiently demonstrate that their claims fell under protections afforded by federal law.

The lawsuit, filed in 2023 by Courtney McMillian, former “head of total rewards” at Twitter (now renamed X under Musk’s ownership), alleged that the company had reneged on promised severance benefits. McMillian claimed that instead of the agreed-upon severance package—including two months of salary and contributions towards health insurance—staff were only offered one month’s pay upon termination.

Musk’s legal team argued that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which sets standards for private health and pension plans, did not apply as claimed by the plaintiffs.

“We are disappointed in the ruling and considering our options for moving forward,” a spokesperson for McMillian’s team commented following the judge’s decision.

The acquisition of Twitter by Musk led to widespread changes within the company, including significant layoffs that sparked various legal challenges from former employees and vendors. Multiple lawsuits are still pending, involving allegations of withheld payments and unfulfilled severance agreements.

Judge Thompson noted in her ruling that while this particular case did not fall under her jurisdiction, other lawsuits addressing similar issues remain active in courts. She suggested that these other cases could provide alternative avenues for former employees to pursue their claims.

Despite this legal victory for Musk, challenges from former Twitter staff and other parties continue to pose ongoing legal battles for the company.

This ruling marks a significant development in the aftermath of Musk’s takeover of Twitter, underscoring the complexities and legal disputes arising from major corporate restructuring and employee terminations.

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