Court Grants Parts and Denies Parts of Tesla’s Motion to Dismiss in Injury Lawsuit

A Federal Judge recently ruled to grant parts and deny parts of Tesla’s motion to dismiss, in its lawsuit with plaintiff, Marlen Mesutovich Izzetov and his minor child. Izzetov has alleged the electric auto manufacturer is responsible for injuries his daughter sustained in a May 2018 accident when she got her finger stuck in a door latch.

Izzetov filed a complaint, in which he alleged six claims: a strict product liabilities claim, negligence, breach of implied warranties, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress to a bystander, and damages in June 2019. Shortly after in September 2019, Tesla filed a motion to dismiss Izzetov’s complaint to which the presiding judge has granted and denied parts.

According to Izzetov’s complaint, his daughter, who was 5 at the time, got her finger stuck in the door latch of his Tesla as it was closing, and emergency services had to use “special metal-cutting equipment to cut through the Tesla’s doorframe to release the child’s finger from the door,” which Izzetov states took two hours. He alleged “a defect in the vehicle’s motorized door crushed and broke his daughter’s finger.”

According to court documents, Izzetov asked Tesla to investigate, but the company allegedly refused to seriously investigate the incident or Izzetov’s safety.

“Defendant’s (Tesla) legal department, in response, allegedly engaged in attacks on plaintiff Izzetov’s character, disclaimed any knowledge of the defect even though Izzetov sent videos of the incident and the operation of the device to the defendant, falsely claimed that Izzetov refused to bring his vehicle for inspection, stated the car had to be brought to San Francisco at the plaintiffs’ expense, and accused Izzetov of evidence spoliation,” a portion of Izzetov’s complaint reads.

The judge declined to trim Izzetov’s negligence claims, and said Tesla’s argument that his claims are vague is “nonsensical.”

“The complaint plainly bases the negligence claim on the defendant’s alleged failure to exercise ‘reasonable care,’” said U.S. District Judge Edward Davila. “The complaint thus identifies the issues at hand and provides defendant notice of the claims against it.”

Davila also declined to dismiss Izzetov’s manufacturing defect claim.

“Plaintiffs, however, need not specifically allege that the manufacture of the Tesla at issue deviated from the design specification or from the manufacture of other Teslas,” Davila said. “From the allegation that the Tesla was manufactured with a malfunctioning part, the court can draw the reasonable inference that the defendant allegedly manufactured a car with a design defect.”

Judge Davila dismissed Issetov’s breach of implied warranty of merchantability claim, as he bought his car from a retailer and not directly from Tesla.

Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.

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