(CNN) — In an early victory for Twitter, a judge on Tuesday ordered that the company’s lawsuit against Elon Musk over the $44 billion takeover deal be referred to a five-day trial in October.
The decision was made at the end of the first hearing in the case as to whether the proceedings should be expedited. Days after Musk sought to terminate the deal, Twitter filed the lawsuit last week and included a proposal to speed up the process. He also requested a four-day trial in September. Musk’s legal team opposed the proposal.
Twitter’s chief lawyer, William Savitt, criticized Musk earlier in the hearing, calling for a speedy trial. Savit said the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the company over the deal and pending litigation “affects Twitter every day, every hour, every day.” He also highlighted what he described as Musk’s continued disdain for Twitter, even on his own platform.
“Musk was and remains contractually obligated to do everything in his power to conclude this transaction,” Savitt said. “What you’re doing is just the opposite: it’s sabotage.”
Musk’s lawyer, Andrew Rossman, responded by saying the billionaire “has no incentive to keep this matter pending for very long.” He also said that Musk remains one of Twitter’s largest contributors. He pointed out that the company did not sue his client for alleged violations of the agreement until after he took action to terminate it, noting that the company’s waiting exceeds its desire to speed up the procedures. Musk’s team suggested that the dispute go to trial early next year.
“We’re not opposed to speed and full stop, we’re not asking for years here,” Rossman said. “What we are offering instead, your honor, is a very fast and reasonable schedule.”
After each side’s argument, the judge overseeing the Delaware case, Kathleen St. Jude McCormick, said Musk’s team “underestimates this court’s ability … to handle complex litigation quickly.”
Even with this dispute over the deadline for settling the lawsuit, Twitter had a lot at stake. The company was already struggling to grow its user base and advertising business before Musk got involved. Now the company, like many other tech companies, is cutting costs amid rampant inflation and fears of a recession.
Twitter needs a quick fix in the fight against Musk to reduce uncertainty for shareholders, employees and customers. Plus any consequences for your business could be exacerbated by costly and lengthy litigation.
Although Tuesday’s session was largely procedural, it provided a look at how each side deals with what is likely to be a complex process. It can also give an idea of how the judge overseeing the case will handle the dispute.