In $1 million lawsuit, Maryland attorney alleges Tesla’s autopilot swerved to avoid nonexistent objects

A Hunt Valley attorney is suing Tesla for more than $1 million, alleging the 2017 Model X 75D he bought had serious malfunctions — including faulty autopilot sensors that caused the car to swerve off the road on several occasions to avoid a nonexistent object.

Scott Breza, principal of Hofmeister and Breza’s Community Settlement Group, claims in his suit that Tesla was unable to fix problems with the $105,600 vehicle, which he purchased in August 2017.


“I have had multiple occurrences with the enhanced autopilot malfunctioning whereby the vehicle suddenly veered off the road,” Breza wrote in a September 2018 letter to the company that was included in the lawsuit filed this month. “I have had issues with the proximity sensors repeatedly warning me of a potential collision when there is nothing in proximity to the vehicle.”

The federal lawsuit, which says Tesla refused to replace the car, seeks a refund for the cost of the car, attorney’s fees and more than $1 million in damages.


Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. Breza’s attorney declined to comment.

In addition to the faulty autopilot sensors, the car’s problems included electronic system shutdowns, issues opening and closing the falcon-wing doors and rear hatch, and “loud popping” and “rattling” noises, according to the lawsuit.

The alleged defects “substantially impair the value of the vehicle and have not been corrected by Tesla in a reasonable number of attempts during the warranty period,” according to the complaint.

Breza brought the vehicle in for repairs on six occasions in 2017 and 2018, and Tesla had the vehicle in its possession “for more than 88 days,” the attorney said in his letter.

“On more than one occasion, as a result of the [falcon-wing door] failures, the vehicle had to be towed to the repair facility,” the lawsuit says.

The alleged problems weren’t limited to the autopilot sensors or the inability to properly open and close the doors. Within a few weeks of buying the vehicle, Breza’s lawsuit said, he began to notice problems with the computer system, “which is integral to the safety and operations of the vehicle.”

The vehicle’s touch screen, dashboard display, heating and air conditioning, turn signals and other electronics “began to demonstrate long delays and then stop functioning completely,” the lawsuit said.

The Evening Sun

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The Maryland lawsuit is one of several against the company over malfunctions with the Model X, including one in which a California man who owns three Teslas claimed the doors of his vehicle opened and closed unexpectedly, smashing into his wife’s and other parked cars, Fortune magazine reported.


A former Tesla employee in New Jersey claimed in a whistleblower lawsuit that the company demoted and eventually fired him after he reported to his supervisors that Tesla was knowingly selling defective cars, The Verge reported.

Tesla stopped taking orders for the Model X 75D earlier this year.

The company “will no longer be taking orders for the 75 [kilowatt hour] version of the Model S & X,” founder Elon Musk tweeted Jan. 9.

Musk replied “Yes" to a question about whether his company was “moving away from battery sizing” labels in favor of selling the vehicles as “Long Range” or “Performance.”

But Tesla is not phasing out the Model S and Model X in the next couple of years, he said.

“Def not,” Musk wrote on Twitter.