Plaintiff and retired lawyer Thomas LoSavio says he has waited 6 years for a self-driving Tesla car.

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Tesla Self-Driving Lawsuit Makes Headway in Court
Plaintiff and retired lawyer Thomas LoSavio says he has waited 6 years for a self-driving Tesla car.

— Tesla must continue to face a self-driving lawsuit that alleges vehicles were sold years ago under the promise they would be self-driving in a few years.

Filed by retired California lawyer Thomas LoSavio, the Tesla lawsuit alleges the plaintiff has been waiting six years for technology he was promised if he paid an additional $8,000 for the vehicle.

LoSavio filed the proposed class action lawsuit for customers who leased or purchased a new Tesla vehicle with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving since 2016.

According to the self-driving lawsuit, Tesla has continually lied about the abilities of its vehicles. The lawsuit also alleges drivers are nothing more than amateur test engineers for technologies that cannot deliver what was promised.

Tesla owners allegedly pay thousands of dollars for self-driving technology only to be told to always keep their hands on the steering wheels just in case of problems.

The lawsuit alleges Tesla bragged how the self-driving vehicles would be capable of traveling on their own from Los Angeles to New York City by the end of 2017.

In addition, the proposed class action alleges Tesla's misleading marketing has caused several injuries and deaths.

The Tesla lawsuit nearly ended in 2023 when the previous judge ruled four plaintiffs had signed valid and enforceable arbitration agreements, and the claims were sent to arbitration.

But the judge ruled LoSavio could change and refile his proposed class action which is now proceeding in court. However, the case currently involves only LoSavio because the lawsuit hasn't yet been certified as a class action.

The self-driving lawsuit was originally consolidated from other proposed class actions into this current case titled, In Re: Tesla Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Litigation.

Motion to Dismiss the Tesla Self-Driving Lawsuit

Tesla argued the lawsuit should be entirely dismissed, and the judge agreed to a point by dismissing warranty claims. But the judge ruled the case can more forward on fraud and negligence claims based on representations Tesla made about the vehicles.

“Tesla allegedly engaged in a systematic pattern of fraud over a long period of time, LoSavio alleges, plausibly and with sufficient detail, that he relied on these representations before buying his car.” — Judge Rita F. Lin

The judge ruled the plaintiff sufficiently alleged statements made by Tesla in 2016 were misleading.

She referenced examples like, “Tesla vehicles produced in our factory now have full self-driving hardware,” and the vehicles would be able to travel across the U.S. “by the end of next year without the need for a single touch.”

“Tesla did not recite the same lie time and time again; instead, it allegedly lied about its progress incrementally and with increasing specificity over time. Every year after LoSavio’s purchase, Musk allegedly repeated that Tesla’s cars were getting closer and closer to full automation, and that the next year — every 'next' year — the cars would drive themselves. As LoSavio noted during the hearing, these were not mere recitations. With each iteration, Musk’s statements became more specific." — Judge Lin

The judge went on to give an example from April 2017 when Elon Musk allegedly said drivers would be able to sleep in the driver's seats in moving vehicles in about two years. In addition, Musk allegedly said there would be more than a million robotaxi cars on the roads in 2020.

The Tesla self-driving lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: In Re: Tesla Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Litigation.

The plaintiffs are represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Bottini & Bottini, Inc., and Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP.


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