Elon Musk sues lawyers for overbilling Twitter
Attorneys for Elon Musk have filed a lawsuit against Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, an elite law firm which represented Twitter during court proceedings over Musk’s takeover last year, for improperly obtaining a “gargantuan” payout from the company for its services. The complaint was filed by Musk’s X Corp, which owns Twitter, in the California Superior Court in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Wachtell was hired under previous Twitter management to enforce Elon Musk’s agreement to acquire the company when he tried to back out of his initial offer to take Twitter private for $44 billion. It represented Twitter in the legal battle with Musk for four months, and ultimately helped it close the deal, with Musk buying the company on October 27, 2022.
During the court fight with Musk, Twitter had agreed to pay Watchell on an hourly basis, and upon the acquisition, the law firm obtained a “mammoth success fee” of $90 million. Musk called the payout “unconscionable” and said he considers it a violation of the law firm’s ethical duties, as well as California law.
“Fully aware that nobody with an economic interest in Twitter’s financial well-being was minding the store, Wachtell arranged to effectively line its pockets with funds from the company cash register while the keys were being handed over to the Musk Parties,” the complaint stated.
Musk now wants to recoup “any associated excess fee payment” and attorneys’ fees that Wachtell charged. The law firm did not immediately respond to media requests for comment on the law suit.
Twitter is currently at the center of a number of lawsuits alleging that, under Musk’s leadership, the company allowed millions to accumulate in unpaid expenses to former employees, vendors, and landlords. Earlier this week, Twitter threatened to sue Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms over the newly launched text-based companion to Instagram, Threads, which Twitter views as a copycat.
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