back to article Ex-SpaceX avionics tech loses safety certificate-forging wrongful dismissal lawsuit

An avionics technician who claimed he was unlawfully fired from Elon Musk's SpaceX after raising the alarm over alleged safety failures has lost his wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Jason Blasdell had claimed in court that he complained to the president of SpaceX in his efforts to alert his managers to what he said were forged test …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    With friends like this ...

    "One of his own expert witnesses was said to have revealed that he also suffers from paranoia."

    who needs enemies?

    1. The Mole

      Re: With friends like this ...

      Whilst you get to choose who you hire, expert witnesses are meant to be independent acting on behalf of the court. They are duty bound to reveal anything they find which is relevant regardless of whether it is beneficial for the people paying them.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: With friends like this ...

        In the middle of a big campaign to remove the stigma of mental illness and encourage especially young men to seek medical help instead of just killing themselves in larger numbers.

        We get the "he suffers from paranoia" therefore is a nut job so you can't believe anything he says.

        So remember young men in tech, don't go to the doctor to talk about eg. depression - it will be used against you if you are ever arrested / fired / called as a witness.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: With friends like this ...

          "We get the "he suffers from paranoia" therefore is a nut job so you can't believe anything he says."

          Wooah there. You have just inserted that insinuation which may be relevant to your prejudices? I don't believe the article mentioned anything about him being a nut job or not being believed because of it. However if he was suffering from diagnosed paranoia then it might have some bearing on the case depending on the testimony. It could be used as a mitigating factor if the company was bringing a case against him and similarly it may highlight areas where his actions were potentially altered due to his illness.

          If your employer does not know about any illness you have, such as paranoia, then they are unable to help you and you may be at risk of being terminated as your behaviour may be deemed unhelpful or uncooperative.

          If you look at some forms of autism, when understood there are many traits that can really help in IT and utilise the special skills these employees have. However without proper understanding some of these traits could be seen in a very negative light.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: With friends like this ...

            The reporting thought it was a relevant fact.

            It didn't report him being overweight, short-sighted, suffering from high blood pressure or a dodgy knee

            1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

              Re: With friends like this ...

              ...You just described me. Are you hiding in my woodpile?

        2. Orv Silver badge

          Re: With friends like this ...

          If the accusation is based on a conspiracy, I think a diagnosis of paranoia is relevant. Not enough to dismiss the whole case, for sure, but worth noting.

          I'm more puzzled as to how his taking amphetamines for ADHD is relevant. The major ADHD meds are *all* basically amphetamine. It has a paradoxical effect on many with ADHD, making them more focused.

          I definitely agree with the comment about going to the doctor potentially being used against you. There are fields where a depression diagnosis is essentially career ending, including aviation. There's a strong temptation to stay undiagnosed and hope your struggles go unnoticed.

        3. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: With friends like this ...

          Be careful here. The expert witness made no such allusion. If the defending counsel managed to do this and the jury (if there was one) swallowed that one hook, line and sinker, it's the jury and defending counsel that're to be hauled over the coals for playing to stereotypes (but at the same time, prosecuting counsel should've/most likely informed his client of this possibility, and his client insisted on continuing).

          Court is *never* pretty, and if you can score quick, dirty, low shots on the opposition and win your case, then your client gets their money's worth.

          That said, I agree with you that such dirty low shots are exactly why people don't seek medical advice when it comes to mental distress or disorders, and that is very unfortunate. Mental health is vastly important and so easily dismissed.

    2. NoneSuch

      No problem:

      Every senior manager who signed off on the validation tests should be scheduled to be put on the first manned flights.

      Literally put their asses on the line.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: No problem:

        Every senior manager who signed off on the validation tests should be scheduled to be put on the first manned flights.

        I vaguely remember some country ordering the president of each airline to take flights on their own planes, in the midst of a safety scare. Don't remember who, though, and I can't find a set of Google search terms that comes up with anything related.

        1. ricardian

          Re: No problem:

          When an RAF passenger plane had undergone major servicing it was common practice for those ground crew who had taken part in the servicing to be passengers on the plane's post-servicing test flight

    3. .stu

      Re: With friends like this ...

      Perhaps he isn't as paranoid as they say?

  2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    I've often wondered...

    How many of those in the jobs believe the conspiracies? Astronaut who thinks the moon landings were faked? Pilot who believes in flat earth?

    But we all know times when management/CEOs do things off plan, right?

  3. M7S

    "who ultimately was terminated for the good of the avionics lab and the other test technicians"

    Just how destructive was this testing?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not cool, Reg (esp. Gareth)!

    Yes, at least in my case, I am "dependent" on my little white pill. Have tried to go without, I'm just a zombie. So that makes me and fellows drug addicts by innuendo?

    BTW, ADD is more prevalent among geeks than among the general population. Ergo, a significant percentage of engineers better behave, or they might get this youthful indiscretion and drug dependency be brushed on their face if they don't.

    Ritalin, a.k.a. methylphenidate, which is amphetamine-based, is the drug of choice to manage Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Meaning, most ADD patients out there, including myself posting anonymously of course, would run the risk of The Register and the court(?) to consider that as relevant in a wrongful dismissal event.

    You could have told the story without going so low, Gareth. Not cool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not cool, Reg (esp. Gareth)!

      Hmm, maybe Gareth was reporting on how the court was using allegations of mental illness (being under treatment, medicated, mind you) as being (ab)used by the court and part of their decision process? that would be news-worthy, and shame on the court, not so much on Gareth, though the way the thing is presented, it's innuendo-ville either way.

      Oh well.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: Not cool, Reg (esp. Gareth)!

        As I understand it -- my information could be out of date -- the doses for the drug are supposed to be extremely low. Yes, you're on speed. No, you're not an addict and you won't manifest the typical effects of taking the drug.

        Quite the opposite, in fact.

  5. Stevie Silver badge


    Unclear: defendant or expert witness paranoid?

    1. Cheekywummin

      Re: Bah!

      The Defendant was allegedly paranoid.

      If I was aware of any skulduggery I'd be paranoid too!The NASA contracts are worth Billions!! As are the tech used will be upgraded by the same firm, keeping the cash coming in! I'm with the *2birds 1stone* angle from SpaceX.I'd also have outdoor security cameras as a backup incase of anyone trying to abuse his alleged paranoia!! Jeez am I paranoid? NO just covering bases!!

  6. Steve Medway

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean to say they're not out to get you.

    Perfect paranoia = perfect awareness.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When SpaceX launch goes to shit, I wonder if the subsequent investigation will look back at this with the same cheery tone.

  8. Nimby

    Two birds, one stone.

    I don't see where testing documentation being forged and someone being a problem in the workplace are mutually exclusive. In fact Catbert would probably advise that the best way to get rid of a whistle-blower is to discredit him so that you can easily blame him later for the very acts he was trying to blow the whistle on.

    Two birds, one stone. It doesn't get easier than that.

    Sounds like Blasdell should be preparing his lawyer to defend him against SpaceX for when the alleged forged test documents are discovered to be real and they come looking to make him the scapegoat. Which if he did forge any such documents, as he alleges he was pressured to, will probably be a slam dunk for SpaceX.

    Paranoid? Sometimes they really are out to get you. But then that's what you get for making yourself such an easy target.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019