그는 캘리포니아에 위치한 매큔ㆍ라이트ㆍ아레발로 LLP 로펌의 파트너로 대기업 대상 집단소송 전문가이다. 2009년 도요타 급발진 집단소송에서는 16억 달러 (약 1조 9000억원)의 배상 및 12억 달러 벌금을 이끌어내기도 했다.
지난 주 손씨가 소송을 제기하자 테슬라측은 관련 사고가 온전히 운전자의 과실이라고 주장했다. 그와 함께 손씨가 본인의 명성을 이용해 협박해왔다고 음해하기도 했다.
업계에서는 급발진 증명이 까다로운 만큼 소송이 장기전이 될 가능성이 높다고 보고 있다.
매큔 변호사는 토요타 소송 때처럼 차량의 코딩을 검토해 테슬라의 급발진 원인이 소프트웨어 결함이었다는 것을 밝혀낼 것이라고 전했다.
“한두 차량이 아니라, 비슷한 사고가 같은 차량에서 여러 차례 발생했다면, 운전자의 과실이 아니라는 강력한 증거가 된다”고 말하며, 테슬라에 해당 차량 리콜을 촉구했다.
<원본 영문 기사>
Tesla keeps mum on settling sudden acceleration case
[THE INVESTOR] Tesla Motors has not made any gesture to settle the lawsuit filed against the automaker by South Korea actor-singer Son Ji-chang alleging defects in Model X SUV that cause sudden unintended acceleration, according to his attorney.
“There were no settlement discussions,” Richard McCune of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, told The Investor on Jan. 7. “The only statement that I saw was what they publicly released denying any responsibility. That’s all I know about what Tesla’s position is.”
California-based McCune Wright Arevalo is the same law firm that filed the class action lawsuits against Toyota in 2009, which resulted in the Japanese automaker settling claims of up to US$1.6 billion.
Tesla was not immediately available to comment on the matter.
On Dec. 30, Son filed a litigation seeking class action status against Tesla in California, after discovering that several cases of sudden unintended acceleration cases involving the Model X were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Son claimed his Model X unexpectedly accelerated on full power while he was trying to park inside his garage in his Irvine home, causing him to crash through the wall and into his living room, injuring himself and his son.
In response to the lawsuit, Tesla claimed the accident was entirely Son’s fault.
“The evidence, including data from the car, conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent,” Tesla said in a statement to Reuters.
Tesla also accused Son of blackmailing the automaker using his celebrity status in Korea, prior to the lawsuit.
“They are trying, it appears, to smear Mr. Son, rather than defend the allegations in their lawsuit that this case is about, whether their vehicle is safe or not and whether they can make changes to make it safe,” McCune said.
The litigation process is expected be a long haul, he added. It could take years depending on Tesla’s further actions.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com