Tesla Motors has not made any gesture to settle the lawsuit filed against the automaker by South Korea actor-singer Son Ji-chang alleging defects in Model X SUV that cause sudden unintended acceleration, according to his attorney.
“There were no settlement discussions,” Richard McCune of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, told The Investor on Jan. 7. “The only statement that I saw was what they publicly released denying any responsibility. That’s all I know about what Tesla’s position is.”
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California-based McCune Wright Arevalo is the same law firm that filed the class action lawsuits against Toyota in 2009, which resulted in the Japanese automaker settling claims of up to US$1.6 billion.
Tesla was not immediately available to comment on the matter.
On Dec. 30, Son filed a litigation seeking class action status against Tesla in California, after discovering that several cases of sudden unintended acceleration cases involving the Model X were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Son claimed his Model X unexpectedly accelerated on full power while he was trying to park inside his garage in his Irvine home, causing him to crash through the wall and into his living room, injuring himself and his son.
In response to the lawsuit, Tesla claimed the accident was entirely Son’s fault.
“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,” Tesla said in a statement to Reuters.
Tesla also accused Son of blackmailing the automaker using his celebrity status in Korea, prior to the lawsuit.
“They are trying, it appears, to smear Mr. Son, rather than defend the allegations in their lawsuit that this case is about, whether their vehicle is safe or not and whether they can make changes to make it safe,” McCune said.
The litigation process is expected be a long haul, he added. It could take years depending on Tesla’s further actions.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com