Tesla Again Sued for Phantom Braking

AUSTIN – Two North Carolina Tesla owners filed a class-action lawsuit Jan. 9th against the Texas electric-car maker claiming incidents of phantom braking affecting their Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

The company was involved in a similar suit last year, but the complainant filed a Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice approximately a month after filing.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received numerous complaints about alleged phantom braking and other braking-related issues in various Tesla models and is conducting inquiries into them (related posts can be found by clicking HERE and HERE).

In addition, probes about braking and related issues surrounding the electric-vehicle’s self-driving systems have been or are under way in a variety of countries including the U.S., China and Korea (related posts can be found by clicking HERE, HERE and HERE).  

These allegations have even led to calls by U.S. lawmakers to investigate the safety of Tesla (Senators Slam Tesla on AV Brake Flaws).

The latest suit, brought by Michael Costello of Wake County and Megan Colonel of Durham County, claims they experienced sudden, unintended braking defects on several occasions while driving their Tesla EVs.

Filed Jan. 9, 2023, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Costello et al v. Tesla, Inc. et al, Case Number 5:2023cv00006) , the action claims the phantom-braking events are safety issues and thus Tesla vehicles are “unreasonably dangerous to consumers because it severely impacts a driver’s ability to control vehicle speed as expected under normal driving conditions and maintain an appropriate speed based on traffic flow, thereby increasing the risk of a rear-end collision.,”

According to the lawsuit the Costello and Colonel would not have bought their Teslas had they known about the alleged issue, or that they would have paid less had they been aware. The suit also claims the sudden unintended braking has “significantly diminished the value” of their vehicles.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.