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Walmart and Tesla settle lawsuit over rooftop solar panel fires

Walmart sign
Walmart had alleged that Tesla solar panels sparked fires at seven or more of its stores.
(Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

Walmart Inc. has settled its lawsuit against Tesla Inc. over fires at more than half a dozen of the retail giant’s stores.

Walmart sued the electric-car maker and solar company in New York State Supreme Court in August, alleging that Tesla solar panels had sparked fires at seven or more of Walmart’s stores. Terms were not disclosed in the filing announcing the deal.

In a joint statement, the two companies said they were “pleased” the issue was resolved.

The lawsuit threatened to undermine Tesla’s push to revive its struggling solar unit, potentially spooking would-be customers. It was filed days after Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk announced a new strategy to revive the unit, which was once America’s leading rooftop installer.

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Walmart and Tesla announced shortly after it was filed that they were in talks to resolve the suit. In an August deposition involving a separate legal dispute, Musk said a settlement with Walmart would include third-party inspections and repairs. “Tesla will pay for the third party,” he said.

Walmart agreed to drop the case without prejudice, according to the filing, meaning the retailer can reassert the claims in the future.

Tesla shares climbed after the deal was announced but then lost those gains, closing essentially flat. Walmart stock ended the day up 1.1%.


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