South Korean actor sues Tesla alleging his Model X unintentionally accelerated

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 4, 2017

Tesla is being sued by a famous South Korean actor and singer because his Tesla Model X electric SUV allegedly accelerated and crashed into his house in California.

As reported by Reuters, Ji-chang Son is claiming that while he was slowly driving his Tesla Model X into his driveway on September 10, 2016, the SUV suddenly accelerated at full power, “jerking forward” and then crashing through the interior wall of the garage.

It ultimately halted in his living room. Son filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in the Central District of California, seeking class action status based on seven previously reported cases of alleged sudden acceleration events involving Tesla vehicles as compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Son’s lawsuit alleges product liability as well as negligence and breaches of warranty. He is also seeking still undetermined damages.

Tesla, however, has given its side to the issue. Citing data logs from Son’s Model X, Tesla concluded that the crash was a result of the actor pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent. This means that Tesla is effectively denying the existence of sudden unintended acceleration problem with the Model X. This also means that the real fault on the accident lies – not with the Tesla SUV – but with Son. As soon as Son fully pressed the accelerator pedal, the Model X accelerated – a scenario that Tesla is painting in response to the class action lawsuit.

There have been several other cases of alleged sudden unintended acceleration in which – after investigation – the event was actually caused by pressing the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. This could also be the case of Son’s Model X, as the actor alleges that he was slowly entering his garage to park his SUV. Instead of fully pressing the brake pedal to bring the Model X to a complete stop, Son claimed that he stepped on the accelerator pedal. A sad turn of events then occurred, and Son’s house was damaged because of the accident.

But there is more to Tesla’s response on Son’s lawsuit. Tesla said in a statement that Son threatened to use his celebrity status in South Korea to hurt the carmaker unless it agreed to pay the actor and admit that the Model X did accelerate on its own. However, Tesla refused to do so since the evidence (the data logs from Son’s vehicle) shows that the Model X wasn’t at fault. Tesla added that it is its policy to stand by the gathered evidence and to not to “give in to ultimatums.”

Ultimately, it was Tesla’s refusal to give in to Son’s demand that pushed the South Korean actor to proceed with the lawsuit – if Tesla is to be believed.

Now, who is telling the truth – Tesla or Son?

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