Lawsuit Filed Against Tesla for Allegedly Misleading the Public Regarding its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Technology


Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Tesla, Inc. for allegedly misleading the public regarding its Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving Capability (“FSD”) technology, which many consumers pay additional thousands of dollars to make their new Tesla self-driving. The lawsuit seeks to represent a class of all those who purchased a Tesla automobile with this technology.

The complaint alleges that since at least 2016, Tesla has misleadingly and deceptively marketed its supposed autopilot and full self-driving technology as either already fully functional or just around the corner. As Tesla states in a video first published on its website in October 2016 that purports to show a Tesla car driving itself:

The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not driving anything. The car is driving itself.”

The New York Times would later report that the video was doctored to exclude, among other things, the Tesla crashing into a barrier.

People have suffered fatal and other serious injuries as a result of the Tesla’s autopilot and self-driving technology, triggering investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and other regulators.

On July 28, 2022, the California Department of Motor Vehicles filed an accusation against Tesla for making statements that are untrue or misleading about vehicles equipped with its autopilot and FSD technology. They are seeking to suspend or revoke Tesla’s vehicle dealer and manufacturing licenses and potentially require Tesla to pay restitution.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that Tesla has yet to produce a fully self-driving car. Tesla owners receiving the latest “updates” to Tesla’s Autopilot software and FSD beta software have reported myriad problems, such as cars having difficulty making routine turns, running red lights, and steering into oncoming traffic. There have also been numerous collisions involving Tesla’s purportedly cutting-edge software, including vehicles crashing at high speeds into large stationary objects such as emergency vehicles and an overturned box truck.

Joe Cotchett, a Partner of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, says of the lawsuit:

“As alleged in the complaint, people have relied upon the representations of TESLA that the self-driving capabilities are completely safe, when TESLA knew they had many problems.”

Nabilah Hossain, another lawyer at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, described the allegations:

“Both the federal government and the State of California have very serious investigations going that as alleged in the complaint make this a very unsafe car.”

The complaint also alleges that through federal regulatory investigations it has become increasingly clear that Tesla knew all along that their years of statements regarding their autopilot and FSD technology were deceptive and misleading, but they made the statements anyway to hype the company’s vehicles and technology, increase sales, and establish Tesla as a dominant player in the electric vehicle market.

Recently, consumer advocate Ralph Nader made a statement on Tesla’s FSD technology, calling it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades” to the Corporate Crime Reporter Newsletter and the media.

The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California, Case No. 3:22-cv-05240 by Plaintiff Briggs Matsko of Sacramento, California.

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