You might recall that last fall, during the Tesla fire hype, habitual class-action peddler Howard G. Smith filed a suit charging Tesla with all manner of uncouth behavior including concealing “material defects” in the Model S from hapless investors. Now that the NHTSA has closed its investigation without finding a defect, you’d think that cripples the lawsuit — yes?
Not necessarily. Look that happened to Toyota. Even NASA’s finding of “no defect” in Toyota electronics hasn’t always moved juries to side with Toyota. That’s how unpredictable litigation can be. Hence, the Howard Smiths of the world.
Usually, however, a NHTSA all-clear does indeed destroy plaintiffs’ cases. How do we know? The favorite “safety consultant” of the plaintiffs’ bar, Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., came right out and said so to the NYT during the Ford-Firesteone fiasco circa 2001.