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The jury finds Tesla 1% careless in a fatal Model S crash



(Reuters) – A Florida jury found electric car maker Tesla Inc. 1% negligent in the death of an 18-year-old man whose Model S then slammed into a concrete wall after the car’s speed limiter was deactivated, with the teenager and his father found guilty of 99 %.

Monday’s verdict by a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale came in what lawyers for James and Jenny Riley, whose son Barrett died in the crash, called the first lawsuit against Tesla regarding an accident with its vehicle.

Barrett Riley had been driving at 116 mph, in a curve with a specified speed limit of 25 mph, on May 8, 2018, when he lost control of his 2014 Model S when he tried to pass another vehicle, which caused a fire.

Another passenger also died while a third passenger survived.

Riley̵

7;s parents said the crash occurred after a Tesla technician, without their knowledge, deactivated a device that had been installed at their request and that limited the Model S ‘speed to 85 mph.

The jury found Tesla 1% negligent, Barrett Riley 90% negligent, James Riley 9% negligent and Jenny Riley not negligent in Barrett Riley’s death.

The jury found that James and Jenny Riley incurred $ 4.5 million and $ 6 million, respectively, in damages for pain and suffering, which the judge may reduce based on the discovery of negligence.

Tesla’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Tesla, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, had said that Barrett Riley’s ruthlessness caused the crash and that his parents should have removed the keys after his speeding fine in March 2018 for driving at 112 mph.

It also said that Barrett Riley tricked the technician into disabling the speed limiter.

The parents said that a design defect in Tesla’s lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs contributed to the fire, but a judge on June 29 rejected that claim.

In a statement, Riley’s lawyer Curtis Miner said they were pleased with the discovery of negligence and hoped the case would help prevent other accidents and save lives.

Tesla has faced a variety of lawsuits and regulatory investigations into crashes linked to its autopilot function. That function was not relevant in Barrett Riley’s crash, court records show.


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