A California choose on Wednesday tentatively ordered Tesla CEO Elon Musk to be interviewed below oath about whether or not he made sure statements concerning the protection and capabilities of the carmaker’s Autopilot options.
The ruling got here in a lawsuit filed by the household of Walter Huang in opposition to Tesla in Santa Clara Superior Court docket, over a automotive crash which killed the Apple engineer in 2018.
Huang’s household argues Tesla’s partially automated driving software program failed. The carmaker contends Huang was enjoying a videogame on his telephone earlier than the crash and disregarded car warnings.
Plaintiff attorneys sought to depose Musk concerning recorded statements that tout the capabilities of Autopilot.
In a 2016 assertion cited by plaintiffs, Musk allegedly mentioned: “A Mannequin S and Mannequin X, at this level, can drive autonomously with higher security than an individual. Proper now.”
Tesla, nevertheless, opposed the request in courtroom filings, arguing that Musk can’t recall particulars in regards to the statements.
As well as Musk, “like many public figures, is the topic of many ‘deepfake’ movies and audio recordings that purport to indicate him saying and doing issues he by no means really mentioned or did,” Tesla mentioned.
However Decide Evette Pennypacker tentatively ordered a restricted, three-hour deposition the place Musk could possibly be requested whether or not he really made the statements on the recordings, and referred to as Tesla’s arguments “deeply troubling.”
“Their place is that as a result of Mr. Musk is legendary and is likely to be extra of a goal for deep fakes, his public statements are immune,” Pennypacker wrote, including that such arguments would permit Musk and different well-known individuals “to keep away from taking possession of what they did really say and do.”
California judges typically subject tentative rulings, that are then finalized after a listening to with just a few main adjustments.
Tesla and an lawyer for Huang’s household didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The lawsuit is scheduled to enter trial on July 31, including to rising authorized and regulatory scrutiny over Tesla’s Autopilot system.
A California state courtroom jury on Friday discovered Tesla’s Autopilot function didn’t fail in what gave the impression to be the primary trial associated to a crash involving the partially automated driving software program.
© Thomson Reuters 2023