Tesla is up against a lawsuit claiming that 2014 to 2016 Model S vehicles have defective door handles. This isn't the first time we've heard about this, and actually, it's been a common complaint over the years. However, the US EV maker claims that such an issue "does not render a vehicle unmerchantable," so it wants the lawsuit dismissed.
Tesla's door handles on the specific models are retractable. They "hide" inside the door, remaining flush until you need to use them. Then they "self-present" when you approach the car unless they're not working correctly.
John L. Urban, a Florida resident and the owner of a 2015 Tesla Model S P85D started having issues with one of the door handles failing to self-present. Thankfully, Tesla fixed it for free. However, since then, he's had two other door handles fail, and the repairs cost him about $300 each.
Urban says the retractable door handles were one of the reasons he decided to buy a Tesla Model S. Now that the handles are failing and making it so he has to enter the car through the wrong door at times, he's clearly unhappy. He says it's also a potential safety issue if something is wrong with a door mechanism and it causes problems with the doors opening easily in an emergency situation.
Tesla says Urban doesn't have standing since he's a Florida resident making claims under California law. The automaker also notes that the design defect Urban is referring to isn't actually even covered by Tesla's warranty, which covers manufacturing defects, but not design defects. Finally, Tesla adds that the plaintiff only filed one warranty claim, and it was repaired free of charge. Tesla writes in the motion to dismiss:
"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."
Tesla goes on to point out that Urban basically didn't do his homework about the known issue when he bought the car. The company adds that the plaintiff also hasn't proven any safety risk associated with the door handle's design flaw.
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