A former Telsa Inc. employee at the electric car maker's battery plant in Nevada is seeking at least $1 million in defamation damages after it accused him of hacking into computers and stealing confidential information leaked to the media.

Lawyers for Martin Tripp filed a counterclaim in federal court in Reno Tuesday alleging that any damages Tesla incurred were caused or contributed to by Tesla's "own negligence, acts or omissions."

Tripp alleges that up to $200 million worth of battery module parts for Tesla's Model 3 vehicle were incorrectly categorized as "scrap" earlier this year. He said more than 700 dented and/or punctured modules were not discarded and instead were being shipped or were in the process of being shipped to customers.

Tesla officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press on Thursday.

Tesla's lawsuit contends that Tripp made false claims to the media about information he stole, including claims that the company used punctured battery cells in the Model 3 electric car.

The company also alleges that Tripp sent photographs and data to unspecified third parties including financial information and battery manufacturing details. Data was combined with false information given to the media, the lawsuit said.

Tesla wants money damages and an order stopping Tripp from obtaining or disclosing information.

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