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Tesla lawsuit alleges ‘defective battery pack’ in car death blaze

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Tesla S sedan

A lawsuit has been filed against Tesla in the US alleging that a “defective battery pack” led to a fatal car accident last year.

Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio has filed a product liability and negligence lawsuit, alleging that a 2014 Tesla S sedan “had a defective battery pack that caused the burning death of an 18-year-old passenger”.

Corboy & Demetrio partner Philip Corboy claimed: “The Tesla S battery was prone to extremely intense fires incapable of being timely extinguished.”

The lawsuit also alleges the Tesla S battery “was inadequately protected and shielded, making the entire vehicle defective”. “The Tesla S sedan had inadequate measures to prevent a post-collision fire and had inadequate measures to contain a fire,” Corboy said.

The law firm represents the estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez, of Aventura, who the company said was a passenger in the Tesla driven by 18-year-old Barrett Riley— “who also died after his car crashed into a concrete wall and erupted in flames” in May 2018 in Fort Lauderdale.

The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County on 8 January, alleges “not only was the battery unreasonably unsafe but also that Tesla failed to warn purchasers of its vehicles of the battery’s dangerous condition”, Corboy claimed.

The lawsuit also alleges “Tesla wrongly removed a limiter set so the vehicle couldn’t travel faster than 85 miles per hour.”

“Immediately before the collision, Riley was driving 116mph,” Corboy claimed. “Less than two months before the crash, Riley’s parents had a limiter installed at a Tesla service centre to prevent the vehicle from reaching over 85mph, but it was removed at another Tesla service visit without Riley’s parents’ knowledge. An additional count in the lawsuit alleges Tesla was negligent in its removal.”

Tesla had not responded to BEST Battery Briefing’s request for comment at the time of publication.

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