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Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attorneys argued on Monday that the billionaire’s legal battle with a group of disgruntled Dogecoin investors has dragged on for too long.
Musk’s counsel asked for the plaintiff’s revised complaint to be dismissed, according to a filing submitted in a New York federal court. In a letter supporting the dismissal, Musk lawyer Alex Spiro skewered the lawsuit’s latest complaint submitted on behalf of Dogecoin investors.
“Enough is enough,” Shapiro wrote. “This action is yet another example of counsel’s abusive and belligerent litigation tactics.”
Evan Spencer, the lead attorney in the class-action lawsuit against Musk, amended the lawsuit’s complaint for a third time in June, tacking on additional allegations.
The lawsuit, which initially sought $258 billion in damages when filed last June, accuses Musk of “a deliberate course of carnival barking, market manipulation, and insider trading” when it comes to one of crypto’s most iconic meme coins.
Musk’s enthusiasm for Dogecoin has been well-documented over the years since his initial Tweet that “Dogecoin may be [his] fav cryptocurrency” in April 2019, and it’s only continued since his acquisition of Twitter last year.
The Tesla CEO’s latest high-profile moment involving Dogecoin took place around (but not on) April Fools Day when Twitter’s logo was temporarily replaced with Dogecoin’s Shiba Inu mascot. In the amended complaint, Spenser notes the switch took place shortly after Musk’s counsel sought to dismiss the lawsuit in March and led Dogecoin to rally 30%.
In 2021, Dogecoin pumped to dizzying heights ahead of Musk’s appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live only for Dogecoin to buckle after he called it a hustle on the late-night comedy show. Still, Musk’s counsel says any Dogecoin “cheerleading” their client has done over the years amounts to “quintessential, inactionable puffery.”
“There is nothing unlawful about tweeting words of support for, or funny pictures about, a cryptocurrency,” Musk’s counsel wrote in Monday’s motion, deriding the amended complaint as “fanciful, meandering, and often incomprehensible.”
Musk’s lawyers stated the lawsuit’s claims fail to hold up under scrutiny because allegations rest on Dogecoin sold by digital wallets that are not factually tied to Musk or Tesla. Additionally, Musk’s lawyers claim the lawsuit fails to demonstrate Musk’s comments about Dogecoin were materially false or misleading.
In June, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who oversees the case, set a deadline for Musk’s lawyers to respond to the amended complaint by Monday. In terms of filing their opposition to the motion for dismissal, attorneys representing Dogecoin investors have until early September.
As June progressed, the legal battle took an acrimonious turn. Spencer accused Musk’s legal team of engaging in “dirty tactics” after an article in the New York Post cited a letter written by Musk lawyer Alex Spiro. Asking for several of Musk’s lawyers to be removed from the case, Spencer alleged it was an attempt to “materially prejudice” the lawsuit.
“It appears defendants are using their bottomless war chest to finance an unlawful harassment campaign against me and my clients,” Spencer wrote in a subsequent filing.
Musk’s lawyers shot back and called the request to remove counsel an “insult,” adding that allegations Spiro leaked the derogatory letter were baseless. They said that it was actually Spencer who was acting inappropriately and his allegations were “so improper that Spencer’s Motion itself [was] sanctionable.”
Editor's Note: Article updated to correct a misspelling of Alex Spiro's name.