Tesla Faces a Class Action Lawsuit Over Suspension Issues with Model S and X Electric Vehicles

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Tesla Faces a Class Action Lawsuit Over Suspension Issues with Model S and X Electric Vehicles
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Tesla is facing a lawsuit on behalf of plaintiff Zachery Williams and a class of all other vehicle owners similarly situated regarding alleged “unfair and deceptive acts” pertaining to the design of the Tesla Models S and X electric vehicles (EVs).

This complaint alleges that the suspension system in these vehicles is dangerously defective.

According to the official complaint, Tesla’s Models S and X vehicles produced between September 2013 and October 2018 are subject to one or more defects in their suspension system. This defect allegedly affects the front and rear suspension control arm, causing them to loosen, break, and in some cases, allow a tire to come off the vehicle completely. If these allegations are true, not only is this defect particularly dangerous, but Tesla must explain how they failed to notice and address this defect prior to the lawsuit.

The complaint also alleges that not only has Tesla failed to disclose the existence of the defect, but they took measures to conceal it from the vehicle owners.

The official complaint alleges that Tesla was fully aware of the suspension defect in these cars, and instead of informing vehicle owners and addressing the problem, they misrepresented the cause of the suspension system’s failure. If these allegations are true, Tesla will have a hard time convincing a court that they did not put their customers at “unreasonable risk of suffering serious bodily injury or death”.

In fact, in October of 2020, the China State Administration for Market Regulation enforced a recall of approximately 40,000 Tesla vehicles for this exact defect. However, in the United States, Tesla has so far blamed their suspension problem on their drivers, citing “driver abuse” as the reason for the suspension system’s failure.

This particular defect affects the wheels of the vehicle, causing them to fold and even detach completely.

The type of suspension defect discussed in the complaint can begin without warning. A driver may go months without experiencing any problem when the defect suddenly manifests (i.e. the rear or front control arm separates from the steering). In simple terms, the complaint describes the defect as follows: “The Suspension Defect causes the parts that connect the wheels to the Class Vehicles to detach, causing the affected wheel to fold inwards.”

In some cases, class members for this lawsuit claim the affected wheels detached completely from their vehicles.

A car without all four functioning wheels is extremely dangerous, and the loss of control that accompanies this defect could result in severe and even catastrophic injuries for both the vehicle’s passengers and anyone else on the road. With many drivers still largely unaware of the defect, a driver who experiences the folding of a wheel or complete detachment while driving is unlikely to handle the sudden loss of control which would accompany the defect. Despite Tesla’s claims that these suspension problems are a result of poor driving by their customers, the complete detachment of a wheel seems like an extreme consequence, even for a subpar driver.

The class is seeking only “equitable relief” and a jury trial at this point.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff on behalf of all those similarly situated seeks a jury trial to consider the evidence presented before them to decide on “actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages” to be awarded to the Class in compensation for the defect and Tesla’s allegedly fraudulent behavior. The complaint also seeks injunctive relief, in the form of a court order requiring Tesla to repair, recall, and replace any defective parts of the vehicles’ suspension system.

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