(Reuters)– Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, were sued Monday by shareholders who accuse them of exaggerating the efficacy and safety of autopilot and “fully autonomous driving” technologies for their electric vehicles.
In a proposed class action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco, shareholders said Tesla defrauded them for four years with false and misleading statements that concealed how its technologies, suspected of being the possible cause of multiple fatal accidents, ” created a serious risk of accidents and injuries.
Shareholders said Tesla’s stock price fell several times as the truth came out, even after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the technologies. , and reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating Musk’s claims about “Autopilot” autopilot technology.
The stock price also fell 5.7% on February 16 after NHTSA forced a recall of more than 362,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with the “fully autonomous driving” beta software because they could be unsafe at intersections.
Tesla has said it accepted the recall, though it disagreed with NHTSA’s analysis.
“As a result of defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the company’s common stock, plaintiff and other class members have suffered significant losses and damages,” the lawsuit says.
Tesla, which does not have a media relations department, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Monday’s lawsuit, led by shareholder Thomas Lamontagne, seeks unspecified damages for Tesla shareholders from February 19, 2019, through February 17, 2023. Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn and his predecessor Deepak Ahuja were also named in the lawsuit.
Tesla’s share price closed Monday up $10.75, or 5.5%, at $207.63, but the shares have lost about half their value since hitting their peak. maximum in November 2021.
Musk is expected to promote the company’s artificial intelligence capability and plans to expand its vehicle lineup at Tesla’s investor day on March 1.