"His name is now etched in the annals of corporate law." A thrash metal drummer just cost Elon Musk $56 billion

Elon Musk in 2023
(Image credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A lawsuit by a metal drummer has cost Tesla and X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk $56 billion.

Richard Tornetta, a drummer who’s previously played in a thrash band called Dawn Of Correction, sued Musk in 2018, after the Tesla board of directors granted the billionaire the incredibly hefty sum as a pay package. The lawsuit was widely reported in 2022.

Tornetta held nine shares in the electric car company when he filed the suit, and believed the vast handout was unfair to him and his fellow shareholders.

The case went to trial in late 2022 and, on Tuesday (January 30), Chancellor Of The Delaware Court Of Chancery Kathaleen McCormick sided with Tornetta. The multi-billion-dollar payment deal was voided in the process.

Musk responded on X: “Never incorporate your company in the state of Delaware.”

Eric Talley, a teacher of corporate law at Columbia Law School, has told The Guardian: “[Tornetta’s] name is now etched in the annals of corporate law. My students will be reading Tornetta v Musk for the next 10 years.”

According to Metal Archives, Dawn Of Correction were founded in 2005 and split in 2009. The band released one album, Dead Hand Control, in 2008 and played a gig at legendary New York punk venue CBGB before its close in 2006.

Dawn Of Correction described their music as “a swift kick to the face with a steel-toed work boot”, according to Reuters.

As reported by The New York Post, Tornetta has gone on to work in the marketing department of online real estate marketing service Homecast.

The new ruling marks Musk’s second costly legal defeat in the state of Delaware. In 2022, the businessman tried to back out of his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion, until the company sued him in The Delaware Court Of Chancery for breaching a binding legal agreement.

Before this, Musk had won a string of lawsuits, which had accused him of defamation, of breaching his duty to shareholders and of violating securities laws.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.