In a recent ruling, a Florida judge has determined that there is “reasonable evidence” suggesting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other executives were aware of a defective Autopilot system in the company’s vehicles but still allowed them to be driven unsafely. The decision by Judge Reid Scott in the Circuit Court for Palm Beach County allows the plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit against Tesla to proceed to trial, seeking punitive damages for intentional misconduct and gross negligence. This ruling marks a setback for Tesla, following two product liability trial victories earlier in the year in California over the Autopilot system. The lawsuit in Florida stems from a 2019 crash near Miami, where a Tesla Model 3 drove under a turning big rig, resulting in a fatality. The judge found similarities with a 2016 fatal crash involving the Autopilot system failing to detect crossing trucks, suggesting Tesla was aware of the issue. The trial, originally set for October, was delayed and awaits rescheduling. Tesla has not yet commented on the ruling.

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