Tesla door handles allegedly fail to pop out to allow an occupant to enter from the outside.

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Tesla Model S Door Handle Lawsuit Alleges Handles Stay Retracted
Tesla door handles allegedly fail to pop out to allow an occupant to enter from the outside.

— A Tesla Model S door handle class action lawsuit alleges model year 2014-2016 cars are equipped with defective door handles that fail.

The lawsuit also alleges when Tesla replaces the Model S door handles, it uses the same defective door handles as replacements.

According to the plaintiff who filed the class action, Model S occupants are unable to enter the cars through the doors with the failed door handles.

This makes it especially dangerous for Tesla Model S occupants in emergencies.

Unlike most other vehicles, Tesla Model S door handles are flush with the doors when not in use and designed to automatically detect an approaching person. A motorized mechanism makes the door handle pop out so a person can enter.

The Tesla door handle lawsuit was filed by Florida plaintiff John L. Urban who took delivery of a 2015 Tesla Model S P85D Ludicrous in June 4, 2015.

Urban says one of the reasons he purchased the Model S was "because of its high-tech features, including retractable door handles that improved the car’s aerodynamics."

The Tesla door handle class action asserts the Model S rear passenger door handle stopped presenting itself while the car was under warranty, so the repairs were made for free.

The lawsuit alleges the front passenger door handle stopped popping out in February 2021 after the warranty expired. The class action alleges the plaintiff had to pay $298.20 out-of-pocket to fix the problem.

Then in May 2022, the front driver door handle stopped presenting itself, so the plaintiff paid $300.60 out-of-pocket to fix the Model S door handle.

However, the plaintiff says he was forced to enter his Model S through the passenger door to open the driver-side door until the door handle was repaired.

The remaining Model S door handle had been replaced due to a March 2020 crash caused by another driver, but the plaintiff claims that door handle would have likely failed if it hadn't already been replaced.

The plaintiff tried to convince Tesla to pay for the door handle repairs but the automaker refused because the warranty had expired.

According to the Model S door handle class action lawsuit, the door handles fail after a few years of normal usage because the motorized mechanism stops working properly. The lawsuit alleges there is no way to open the Model S doors from the outside when the door handles remain retracted.

"In a tacit admission of the Defect’s significance, Tesla redesigned the door handle for its post-2016 Model S vehicles, with the door handle design now believed to be in at least its 4th generation. The door handles continue to include the auto-present feature upon a user’s approach with a key fob or, if the vehicle is unlocked, by pressing on the door handle." — Tesla door handle lawsuit

The Tesla Model S door handle class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: John L. Urban v. Tesla Inc., d/b/a Tesla Motors, Inc.

The plaintiff is represented by Miller Shah LLP, and Edgar Law Firm LLC.


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