Tesla sues Alameda County to force California factory reopening
Tesla filed a lawsuit Saturday against Alameda County in an effort to invalidate orders that have prevented the automaker from reopening its factory in Fremont, California.
The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive and declaratory relief against Alameda County, was first reported by CNBC. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for California’s Northern District.
Earlier Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was filing a lawsuit against Alameda County and threatened to move its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately.
Tesla had planned to bring back about 30% of its factory workers Friday as part of its reopening plan, defying Alameda County’s stay-at-home order. Musk was basing the reopening on new guidance issued Thursday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom that allows manufacturers to resume operations. The guidance won praise from Musk, who later sent an internal email to employees about plans to reopen based on the governor’s revised order. However, the governor’s guidance included a warning that local governments could keep more restrictive rules in place. Alameda County, along with several other Bay Area counties and cities, last week extended the stay-at-home orders through the end of May. The orders were revised and did ease some of the restrictions. However, it did not lift the order for manufacturing.
The lawsuit argues that by preventing Tesla from opening, the Alameda County is going against its own guidance.
“Alameda County has expressly recognized and publicized that “businesses may . . . operate to manufacture” batteries and electric vehicles,” the complaint reads. “Inexplicably, however, the Third Order as well as County officials have simultaneously insisted that Tesla must remain shuttered, thereby further compounding the ambiguity, confusion and irrationality surrounding Alameda County’s position as to whether Tesla may resume manufacturing activities at its Fremont Factory and elsewhere in the County.”
The term “third order” is a reference to a revised stay-in-place order issued by Alameda County.
On Friday, the Alameda County Health Department said Tesla had not been given “the green light” to reopen and said if the company did, it would be out of compliance with the order.