Twitter’s request to fast-track Elon Musk lawsuit gets court hearing

‘The earliest possible trial date is imperative,’ Twitter’s attorneys said in a court filing Monday. ‘This very public dispute harms Twitter with each passing day.’
Image: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

A judge will hear arguments on Twitter’s request to fast-track its lawsuit against billionaire Elon Musk, as the social-media platform seeks to force him to complete his proposed $44 billion acquisition.

Lawyers for San Francisco-based Twitter say they need only four days to prove the world’s richest person must honour his agreement and pay $54.20 a share. The company filed suit last week, requesting a September 19 start for the non-jury trial.

“The earliest possible trial date is imperative,” Twitter’s attorneys said in a court filing Monday. “This very public dispute harms Twitter with each passing day.”

Musk’s legal team said Twitter was unfairly pushing for a “warp speed” trial. The billionaire says Twitter violated the terms of the buyout deal by not turning over detailed information about so-called spam bot accounts within its system. The case requires a “forensic review and analysis of large swaths of data” about the bots along with other legal issues, Musk’s lawyers said in a filing, seeking a February trial date.

Delaware Chancery Court Chief Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick will hear arguments from both sides on Tuesday. The judge, who moved the hearing to Zoom instead of in-person after testing positive for Covid-19, is expected to rule at the hearing in Wilmington, scheduled to last from 11am to 12:30pm.

Chancery judges in Delaware — the corporate home to more than half of U.S. public companies — are known for being able to parse through the legal thickets of complex merger and acquisition disputes more quickly than other US courts. Unlike some states where it can take several years to get a case to trial, Delaware Chancery Court generally moves quicker, with cases often argued within five or six seven months of being filed.

Musk backed out of the deal to buy the platform on July 8, saying in a regulatory filing Twitter made “misleading representations” over the number of bot accounts. Twitter also hasn’t “complied with its contractual obligations” to provide information about how to assess how prevalent the bots are on the social media service.”

Twitter countered that Musk is asking for information that “does not exist, has already been provided, or is the subject of requests only made recently.” The billionaire “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests,” Twitter said in the suit.

The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

© 2022 Bloomberg

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