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Family Sues Tesla Alleging Design Flaw in 2018 Model X – Two-Year-Old Races SUV into 8-Month Pregnant Mother – GrassNews
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Family Sues Tesla Alleging Design Flaw in 2018 Model X – Two-Year-Old Races SUV into 8-Month Pregnant Mother

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Gokal Law Group Seeks Safety Updates

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gokal Law Group, Inc. announced today a lawsuit filed against Tesla,
Inc., on behalf of its clients regarding a potentially deadly design
flaw of the 2018 Tesla Model X. The lawsuit alleges the vehicle fails to
include proper safety control devices to ensure the vehicle isn’t
unintentionally operated.

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court (case HG19019709)
stems from a Dec. 27, 2018 incident in Santa Barbara (SBPD Report
#18-74865)
, in which 31-year-old Mallory Harcourt’s 3-day old Tesla
was parked in her driveway with the engine off. Leaving the falcon doors
open to retrieve her toddler and later groceries, she walked toward the
garage with her son steps behind. Suddenly, the two-year-old runs back,
climbs into the driver’s seat, and as Mrs. Harcourt turns back, calling
her son from the vehicle, the 5,500-pound SUV accelerates towards her.
(Tesla promotes the Model X as the “quickest
SUV on Earth
,” which can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 2.8
seconds.)

At eight months pregnant, Mrs. Harcourt was lifted, carried into the
garage, slammed against the wall and pinned. Her pelvis cracked in three
places and her right leg was broken.

“I was trapped and had to scream until someone heard me and came for
help,” she says. From behind the wheel, the toddler, seeing his mother
hurt, burst into tears. He has been traumatized for months and has
required therapy.

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Because of the trauma, the baby was delivered prematurely; the mother
was unable to have a C-section. “Thank God the airbag didn’t go off and
hurt my son too. This happened so easily, how long before it happens to
someone else?” Mrs. Harcourt says.

Representing the Harcourts, Gokal Law Group initially sent letters to
Tesla requesting it issue a formal advisory and make a practical, safety
modification to the Model X’s start-and-drive functionality. Tesla
replied the Harcourt’s vehicle “responded to the operator’s inputs, as
designed.” The full text of Tesla’s letter analyzing the (two year-old
son’s) “operator data” is posted on Gokal’s website at: www.gokallaw.com/Tesladangerousdesign/.

“Tesla’s response is outrageous, the mother, son and unborn baby could
have been killed,” said Attorney
Alison Gokal
. “My clients are absolutely terrified of this happening
to another family and want Tesla to prevent a repeat of this tragedy,”
says Ms. Gokal.

“We did our research, excited we found the safest car for our growing
family, only now we know it is a nightmare,” says Mrs. Harcourt. Tesla
promotes the Model X as, “the
safest SUV ever
.” The police report concluded the toddler drove the
Model X.

Tesla admits that the Model X is designed so simply that a two-year-old
can operate it. “The driver in this case wasn’t even potty trained,”
says Ms. Gokal.

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According to the Harcourts, Tesla’s service department confirmed there
is nothing they or any other Tesla owner can do to prevent this type of
incident from happening.

“Families like us are Tesla’s target market for the Model X,” says Mrs.
Harcourt. Tesla promotes
cars for children
while videos like this from other sources teach
children about the Tesla Model X: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfhuzje8Zjs.)
“My toddler learned how to start and operate the Tesla faster than an
adult can open a childproof bottle. We could have died, the public needs
to know,” Mrs. Harcourt adds.

Gokal Law Group is contacting the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
for investigation.

Contacts

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Alison Gokal, 949-753-9100 alison@gokallaw.com

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