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Tesla sued over claims of sudden acceleration

January 3, 2017

Tesla's Model X Tesla's Model X


U.S. electric automaker Tesla is being sued by a South Korean celebrity who says his car accelerated abruptly while he was parking, injuring himself and his passenger.

In the lawsuit, actor and singer-songwriter Ji Chang Son claims he was driving his Model X slowly into his garage when it suddenly sped up, crashing through his living room. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on Dec. 30, is looking to be granted class action status.

Automotive appeal
In addition to Mr. Son’s alleged experience, the lawsuit cites similar instances of sudden acceleration found in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database, saying that they closely resembled what happened to Son.

Tesla has denied Mr. Son’s claims in a statement given to Reuters, saying, "The evidence, including data from the car, conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent."

According to Gizmodo, a Tesla spokesperson said that Mr. Son threatened to use his celebrity to do damage to the company’s reputation in South Korea unless they paid him and admitted fault. A post on Mr. Son’s Facebook tells his side of the story, as he says the company’s failure to acknowledge its role in the incident led to his decision to take them to court.

On its Web site, Tesla calls the Model X, its first sport utility vehicle, "the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history."

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Tesla has found itself the subject of other disputes on behalf of owners.

The automaker came under fire for a term in a goodwill agreement related to a potentially faulty suspension.

Consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman is investigating the agreement, which allegedly restricts the rights of owners in the event of defects or other wrongdoings on the part of Tesla. Mandatory silences are becoming a more common tactic among businesses and have a history in the automotive sector, but the allegations contradict Tesla’s transparent and responsible image (see story).