A proposed class action alleges that certain Tesla models have a “Phantom Braking” defect. Specifically, the lawsuit contends Tesla’s Autopilot and Automatic Emergency Braking Systems have a defect that causes certain models’ brakes to “falsely engage randomly, unexpectedly, and often with great severity.” The alleged defect causes the vehicles to detect non-existent obstacles, causing them to abruptly slow down or stop, sometimes in the middle of traffic.
The named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in January 2023, seek to represent the purchasers or lessors of: 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model Y and 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model Y vehicles equipped with Advanced Driver Assist System (“Autopilot”) with the alleged braking defect. The plaintiffs contend the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received hundreds of complaints in the past three years from drivers of Tesla vehicles, and Tesla has known about the alleged defect in the lawsuit for years but has remained silent.
The plaintiffs assert claims against Tesla including fraud by omission, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment or restitution, and violation of the North Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act. They seek remedies including damages and attorney fees.
The case is Michael Costello et al. v. Tesla, Inc., et al. case number 5:23-cv-00006, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.