Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UPDATE: English High Court Scraps Much of Tesla's Top Gear Libel Suit

DRESDEN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 13:  A visitor sit...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe Queen's Bench Division of England's High Court today sent to the legal junkyard a significant portion of an automaker's libel suit against BBC's Top Gear program based on a December 14, 2008, episode that depicted the car manufacturer's vehicle faring poorly in a number of performance tests.

According to an article in The Guardian, Mr. Justice Tugendhat found that reasonable viewers of Top Gear would not compare the shaky performance of Tesla Motors' electric car on the program's airfield track to its actual performance on a public road. The court will continue to hear Tesla's allegations that the defendant made five defamatory false statements about the Tesla Roadster.

The case, Tesla Motors Ltd. et al.  v. BBC (Claim No. HQ11D01162) [see "TUOL" post 3/30/11], centered around Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson's contention that the Roadster ran out of battery after 55 miles driving around the show's track, far short of the car maker's 200-mile endurance claim. The Guardian article quoted Mr. Justice Tugendhat verbal opinion: "In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant [Tesla] misled anyone. This is because there is a contrast between the style of driving and the nature of the track as compared with the conditions on a public road."
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