Tesla Model S door handle lawsuit takes new turn

Tesla Model S self-presenting door handle (Credit: TesBros)

Tesla is in the midst of a class-action lawsuit with an owner who claims his 2015 Model S P85D door handles broke. In the latest turn, the automaker is moving to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiff does not have the standing to sue.

John L. Urban, the owner of the Tesla in question, said his Model S door handles stopped coming out because the motorized mechanism that activates the feature had broken. It cost $298.20 to fix, but another handle broke shortly after, costing an additional $300.60 to repair.

The lawsuit says that when a door handle breaks, vehicle occupants must enter the vehicle through other doors, which the lawsuit says “creates a significant safety risk in emergency situations.”

Tesla said the broken door handle “does not render a vehicle unmerchantable,” according to Car Complaints.

Tesla is also moving to have the lawsuit completely thrown out, alleging that a resident in one state cannot represent claims across an entire customer base, and is only subject to the laws in their home state:

“It is well-settled that a resident of a single state cannot represent a putative nationwide class asserting consumer protection and warranty claims because each class member’s claims will be subject to the laws of their home state.”

Additionally, Tesla believes the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Model S warranty only covers manufacturing defects and not necessarily defects in design.

Tesla said the only claim he made under warranty was fixed, which was a door handle repair, the company said.

The original complaint can be seen below.

Urban v Tesla Inc by Joey Klender on Scribd

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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