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Corboy & Demetrio Files Lawsuit Against Tesla Alleging Defective Battery Caused Passenger’s Death

Prominent Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio has filed a product liability and negligence lawsuit against Tesla alleging that its 2014 Tesla S sedan had a defective battery pack that caused the burning death of an 18-year-old passenger and that Tesla wrongly removed a limiter set so the vehicle couldn’t travel faster than 85 mph. Corboy has partnered with Schlesinger Law Offices of Fort Lauderdale.

“The Tesla S battery was prone to extremely intense fires incapable of being timely extinguished,” Corboy & Demetrio Partner Philip Corboy, Jr. said.  

Corboy represents the Estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez, of Aventura, who was a passenger in the Tesla driven by 18-year-old Barrett Riley who also died after his car crashed into a concrete wall and erupted in flames on May 8, 2018 along Seabreeze Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.   The lawsuit alleges not only was the battery unreasonably unsafe but also that Tesla failed to warn purchasers of its vehicles of the battery’s dangerous condition.

Immediately before the collision, Riley was driving 116 mph.  Less than two months before the crash, Riley’s parents had a limiter installed at a Tesla Service Center to prevent the vehicle from reaching over 85 mph, but it was removed at another Tesla service visit without Riley’s parents’ knowledge. An additional count in the lawsuit alleges Tesla was negligent in its removal.

The lawsuit also alleges the Tesla S battery was inadequately protected and shielded, making the entire vehicle defective.  “The Tesla S sedan had inadequate measures to prevent a post-collision fire and had inadequate measures to contain a fire,” Corboy said.

There have been at least a dozen worldwide reported cases of Tesla S batteries catching fire in collisions as well as while stationary in the last five years.

Case Info: EDGAR MONSERRATT, as Personal Representative of THE ESTATE OF EDGAR MONSERRATT MARTINEZ, v. TESLA, INC. a/k/a TESLA FLORIDA, INC. and Constantino, case #83012909, filed in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County on Jan. 8, 2019.

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Corboy & Demetrio
33 N. Dearborn Street
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Chicago, IL 60602