UPDATE (10/27/23): The trial for McCarthy v. Tesla scheduled for next week was postponed by the judge with a new trial date expected to be set for the beginning of next year. The new date has not been announced.
INDIANAPOLIS — A Tesla lawsuit tied to a deadly car fire and crash in downtown Indianapolis is set to get underway Monday.
The family of former FBI agent Kevin McCarthy filed the suit in June 2019 after McCarthy and his employee Casey Speckman died in a fiery crash in McCarthy’s Tesla in November 2016.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in California by McCarthy’s wife.
McCarthy, a former FBI agent, was the president and CEO of Case Pacer, an Indianapolis-based software company.
Speckman, who was newly engaged, had recently graduated law school and was working at Case Pacers.
Court documents accused Tesla of negligence, citing a series of alleged defects they said led to the wreck. Witnesses told firefighters that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed before it crashed into a tree.
The impact of the crash disintegrated the car, left a debris field over 150 yards long.
“The Speckman Family is grieving the sudden loss of Casey, beloved daughter, sister, cousin and fiancee. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this difficult time,” said Speckman’s family in a statement after the deadly crash.
The lawsuit quoted witnesses who said McCarthy was seen trying to escape the car post-crash but he was unable to do so, causing him to burn alive.
The Indianapolis Fire Department said firefighters couldn’t reach victims immediately because of several fires. They contended with the main fire centered on the Tesla itself and smaller fires from the lithium-ion batteries that powered the car.
The crash victims were pulled from the car after nearly 20 minutes. Speckman, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene.
McCarthy, 44, died at Eskenazi Hospital.
Pre-trial proceedings in the civil case are scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, at 8:45 a.m. (pacific time) at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in California.
The plaintiffs alleged the 2015 Tesla Model S was defectively designed in a manner that made it prone to catch fire and entrap vehicle occupants.