Tesla Wins Court Battles In U.S., China, Over Alleged Autopilot Fatalities

Tesla Wins Court Battles In U.S., China, Over Alleged Autopilot Fatalities

Tesla has won its battle in court over a fatal Autopilot crash that killed a California driver four years ago. 

A jury in Riverside, California sided with Tesla in a lawsuit which blamed Tesla’s Autopilot for the fatality. Passengers who had survived the accident were suing for $400 million for the death of the driver, as well as physical injury and mental anguish, Bloomberg reported this week. 

It took the jury four days of deliberation to come to its decision. 

The month-long Riverside trial centered on Micah Lee, whose 2019 Model 3 crashed into a tree in Southern California. While plaintiffs claimed an Autopilot defect caused the crash, Tesla argued Lee had been drinking and offered no proof that Autopilot was engaged, Bloomberg reported.

At the trial’s outset, Tesla’s attorneys blamed “classic human error” for the accident. They presented a video of passenger Molander stating that both she and Lee had consumed alcohol at Downtown Disney in Anaheim before the crash. 

Brian Jazaeri, Tesla’s senior litigation director, commented: “The jury’s conclusion was the right one. There was no evidence of a defect in our Autopilot technology. Tesla’s cars are well-designed and making the roads safer every day.”

Plaintiff counsel Jonathan Michaels commented: “It’s undeniable that a national lens is now focused on this pressing matter. Tesla, despite its stature, was pushed to its limits during the trial. The jury’s prolonged deliberation suggests that the verdict still casts a shadow of uncertainty.”

Talking about how the vehicle malfunctioned during the crash and sent a “excessive steering wheel angle command”, Michaels told the jury: “We know it’s not possible for a driver to have done this. We know Autopilot went crazy. We know this is a manufacturing defect.”

Tesla’s lawyer, Michael Carey, dismissed allegations of an Autopilot flaw as “hot air,” asserting that evidence shows the car’s steering was manually altered. Carey emphasized to the jury that while Tesla sympathizes with Molander and her son, the company bears no responsibility for the incident.

Separately this week, according to Shanghai Securities News and cited by Bloomberg, a Chinese court also found that Tesla was not at fault in a November 5, 2022 accident that occurred in Chaozhou in Guangdong province, which injured three people. 

Bloomberg noted the following remaining cases still pending regarding Tesla’s Autopilot:

Tyler Durden
Wed, 11/01/2023 – 11:05 Source

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