Two surviving passengers claim Autopilot failed, while Tesla argued Lee had been drinking alcohol.

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Tesla Scores Win in Lawsuit Over Death of Micah Lee
Two surviving passengers claim Autopilot failed, while Tesla argued Lee had been drinking alcohol.

— A Tesla crash that involved the death of Tesla Model 3 owner Micah Lee and serious injuries to his two passengers was not caused by a manufacturing defect, specifically in the Autopilot system.

That decision was handed down by a California 12-member jury which voted 9-3 in favor of Tesla.

From the beginning, Tesla argued the deadly 2019 crash was caused by driver error, while the lawsuit filed by the two passengers claimed the Autopilot system sent the Model 3 off the road at 65 mph near Los Angeles on the 215 Freeway.

The plaintiffs who sued said the Model 3, without warning, flew off the road and slammed into a palm tree, causing the vehicle to burst into flames.

"Plaintiffs Lindsay Molander and Parker Austin were not aware of, did not comprehend, nor were advised of the dangerous and defective condition of the subject Tesla Model 3." — Tesla lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges none of it would have occurred if Tesla would have properly designed the vehicle and the Autopilot system.

Tesla told the jury damage to the vehicle left it unclear if Autopilot was even engaged at the time. In addition, Tesla argued Lee had been drinking alcohol and driving when the crash occurred.

Lawyers for the Model 3 passengers admitted Lee had been drinking, but they argued his condition prevented him from correcting the alleged Autopilot failures.

"Decedent Micah Lee had been consuming alcohol the day of the collision and was under the influence at the time of the collision which interfered with his ability to correct the failure of the autopilot. Decedent Lee failed to take action to correct the sudden failure of the autopilot before it was too late." — Tesla Autopilot lawsuit

Tesla also explained how a driver is responsible for keeping alert with their hands on the steering wheel and ready to take control even if Autopilot is engaged.

“We know that the only way that this car steers to 43 degrees in this time is Mr. Lee or somebody else in that car played a role in turning that steering wheel.” — Tesla

The Tesla Autopilot lawsuit was filed in the California Superior Court of Riverside County: Molander v. Tesla Inc.


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