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Tesla and Elon Musk face shareholder lawsuit over Autopilot, FSD safety claims

Credit: Whole Mars Catalog

Tesla shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Tesla Inc. and its CEO, Elon Musk over claims shared about Autopilot and Full Self-Driving’s (FSD) safety. Autopilot and FSD are among the most advanced features currently available on Tesla’s electric vehicles today. 

Led by TSLA shareholder Thomas Lamontagne, the shareholders are seeking unspecified damages for fellow shareholders from February 19, 2019, to February 17, 2023. Over this period, the shareholders noted that Tesla shares took several hits as Autopilot and FSD’s safety got scrutinized by agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

In their proposed class action suit filed in San Francisco federal court, the shareholders claimed that the electric vehicle maker effectively defrauded them over four years. The company allegedly did this through false and misleading statements that hid how Autopilot and Full Self-Driving’s technologies “created a serious risk of accident and injury.”

Following is a section from the shareholder lawsuit.

“Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: 

  • (i) Defendants had significantly overstated the efficacy, viability, and safety of the Company’s Autopilot and FSD technologies; 
  • (ii) contrary to Defendants’ representations, Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD technologies created a serious risk of accident and injury associated with the operation of Tesla vehicles; 
  • (iii) all the foregoing subjected Tesla to an increased risk of regulatory and governmental scrutiny and enforcement action, as well as reputational harm; and 
  • (iv) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

“As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the Company’s common stock, Plaintiff and other Class members have suffered significant losses and damages,” the lawsuit noted. 

Apart from Musk and Tesla, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn and his predecessor Deepak Ahuja were also named as Defendants in the lawsuit. 

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Tesla and Elon Musk face shareholder lawsuit over Autopilot, FSD safety claims
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