One of three lawsuits filed by family after the death of actor Paul Walker, 40, in a car crash three years ago has been thrown out.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled that widow Kristine Rodas, whose husband, Roger, was driving the Porsche Carrera that crashed and caught fire in Santa Clarita in 2013, killing him and Walker, hadn’t proven that the car manufacturer was to blame for the wreck, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Plaintiff has provided no competent evidence that Rodas’ death occurred as a result of any wrongdoing on the part of defendant,” Gutierrez wrote, according to the Associated Press.
Two more lawsuits against Porsche will still go forward despite the decision, which Rodas plans to appeal. Paul Walker’s teenage daughter, Meadow, has also filed suit on similar grounds, and so has Paul’s father.
Her attorney, Jeff Milam, said 17-year-old Meadow‘s September lawsuit will go forward because the cases are “very different,” People reported. She is alleging different mechanical problems. Critically, the manner of Paul’s death — seconds after Roger’s and caused in part by the subsequent fire — also opens the door for different arguments.
Rodas’ lawsuit included four allegations: negligence, strict liability, wrongful death, and product liability, E! News reported.
She alleged that a “properly functioning crash cage” would’ve prevented her husband from being killed. The judge determined that his fatal injuries resulted when he and Paul’s bodies collided during the crash, so that feature wouldn’t have helped.
She claimed Porsche didn’t warn drivers that the Carrera lacked adequate “side impact protection,” but the judge said her expert testified that the force of the impact was focused on the front end, not the side.
Her allegation that the Carrera’s lack of a racing fuel caused the fire was also thrown out because Roger died instantly and didn’t suffer any injuries related to the fire. Finally, her claim that the suspension failed, causing the accident, was thrown out due to lack of evidence.
Paul Walker was on break from filming the seventh Fast and the Furious movie on the day of the fatal accident. After attending a charity event, Paul and Roger drove off in the latter’s 2005 Porsche; Rodas was driving. He was traveling on Hercules Street when the car collided with several trees and then a concrete light pole. Rodas died on impact, and Paul Walker passed away seconds later due to traumatic injuries and burns sustained in a fire.
Police later determined that Rodas, 38, was driving at least 90 mph at the time of the crash, citing unsafe speed as the cause and not mechanical problems.
Both widow Kristine and Walker’s daughter Meadow claim the car was traveling much slower at the time of the wreck.
The critical difference between Meadow Walker’s suit and Kristine’s is how their loved ones died, Milam explained in a statement.
“He survived the crash but was trapped and burned to death because of the vehicle’s defect. A significant portion of the judge’s decision was based on his rejection of evidence because of missed deadlines and also a failure to sue Porsche AG, the manufacturer. Meadow will continue the fight to hold Porsche accountable for selling a defective product that kills.”
Paul Walker’s daughter has blamed different mechanical problems for the crash. She claims the manufacturer shouldn’t have built a car that can travel at 205 mph and that a seat-belt flaw caused her father’s death.
Porsche has denied wrongdoing in the fatal wreck, either through the design, manufacture, or marketing of the car Paul Walker rode in that fatal day. The company has said that the car had been altered and not maintained by the owner, two contributing factors in the wreck.
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