Settlement unlikely in Tesla’s sudden acceleration case
PUBLISHED :June 26, 2017 - 16:46 UPDATED :June 27, 2017 - 11:35
[THE INVESTOR] Korean actor-singer Son Ji-chang is determined to proceed with his lawsuit against
Tesla, in which he accuses the automaker of defects leading to sudden unintended acceleration.
“We have no reason to believe that this case will be settled anytime in the near future,” Richard
McCune of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, told The Investor on June 26, adding the trial date is set for
Nov. 6, 2018.
Meanwhile, Son and his attorney will work on gathering information and evidence in preparation for the
trial. McCune plans to ask written questions, conduct depositions and request documents to determine
the cause the defect and how long has Tesla known it, as well steps being taken to rectify it.
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On Dec. 30, Son filed a class action suit against Tesla in California, after discovering that several
cases of unintended acceleration involving the Model X -- that were similar to his accident -- had been
reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He claims his Model X SUV
unexpectedly accelerated on full throttle while he was trying to park inside the garage in his Irvine
home, causing him to crash through the wall and into his living room, injuring himself and his son.
Since the initial complaint, more plaintiffs were added to the litigation that now includes both the Model
X SUV and Model S sedan.
Tesla, however, denied that its Model X -- once touted as “the safest SUV ever made” by its founder
Elon Musk -- suffers from defects. Insisting that the crash was entirely Son’s fault. Tesla also accused
him of blackmail using his celebrity status in Korea.
In response, Tesla filed a motion to dismiss half of the claim brought against the automaker accusing
that its cars are prone to sudden unintended acceleration.
A California federal judge on June 8 refused to drop the breach of warranty claim, saying drivers
sufficiently stated the vehicles may contain manufacturing defects. The judge, however, did rule in
favor of Tesla, and dismissed some of the plaintiff’s original claims, including charges of misleading
consumers through false advertisements.
McCune said he and Son are pleased with the court’s decision and are planning to provide additional
information to the court to amend their claims.
The ongoing lawsuit has sparked controversy in Korea, raising safety concerns about Tesla vehicles as
the automaker is speeding up expansion here. Last week, Tesla celebrated the official launch when it
delivered Model S 90D vehicles, its first car model on sale, to local customers.