It wasn’t a smooth-sailing return for the DeLorean Motor Company. It faced two lawsuits before, one in 2015 and another in 2017, while the announcement of the Alpha5 EV prompted John DeLorean’s daughter to publicly denounce the association of the Texas-based company with the original DeLorean. And now, another suit is being filed against DMC – this time coming from California-based EV maker, Karma Automotive.
Filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the federal lawsuit accuses four former employees of Karma Automotive of stealing trade secrets and starting a new company that will reimagine the popular DeLorean vehicle for the EV era.
The lawsuit names current DeLorean Motors Company CEO Joost de Vries, Chief Operating Officer Alan Yuan, Chief Marketing Officer Troy Beetz, and Vice President Brand and Creative Neilo Harris. The four were former employees of Karma Automotive, and were assigned to a DeLorean revival project called “Project 88.”
According to the lawsuit, the four executives allegedly solicited investments and pitched a new company while still being employed by Karma. They were said to be using Karma company email addresses and company cars when doing business, claimed to happen between December 2020 and February 2022. The four were also accused of withholding information from executives of Karma Automotive to ensure the failure of Project 88.
After de Vries resigned from Karma Automotive, the four executives founded DeLorean Motors Reimagined LLC in November 2021. However, Yuan, Beetz, and Harris remained employed by Karma until February 2022. The four were being sued for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and tortious interference. Violation of federal and state laws was being claimed by Karma Automotive.
The DeLorean Motors Reimagined LLC sells cars under the DeLorean Motor Company name, which launched the Alpha5 EV this year. The electric coupe will be shown to the public at Pebble Beach this weekend. DMC revealed three more concepts under the Alpha name back in July.