This week, a U.S. District Judge dismissed the first of three lawsuits blaming Porsche for the deadly crash that killed actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas in 2013.
Both men were killed three years ago when the Porsche Carrera GT they were riding in crashed and burst into flames near Los Angeles. Rodas was at the wheel and Walker was a passenger.
Kristine Rodas, the widow of the driver, filed the first lawsuit to make it into court. It alleged the Porsche’s right rear suspension failed on the Carrera GT and that the Porsche lacked vital safety features like a proper crash cage or racing fuel cell.
However, the judge dismissed the case saying Rojas’ lawyers failed to prove any of their claims and to show any evidence of wrongdoing by the automaker. The judge wasn’t impressed with expert witness testimony presented by Rodas’ attorney. That expert had based his analysis on tire marks he examined weeks after the crash — not immediately after. He then changed his explanation of why they were significant after the deadline to present expert testimony.
“Plaintiff has provided no competent evidence that Rodas’s death occurred as a result of any wrongdoing on the part of defendant,” he wrote in a judgment at the Los Angeles superior court.
It’s the first of three wrongful death cases stemming from the crash, the other two were filed by Walker’s daughter and his father. The suit filed by Walker’s daughter cites different safety issues as the cause of the crash, including a problem with the seat-belt.
The official cause of the accident was ruled high speed by the police investigation, however, that too is contested by Meadow Walker’s lawsuit. The police report says the vehicle was going at least 90 miles per hour, but Walker’s daughter says the car was only going 63 to 71 miles an hour.
Attorneys representing Meadow Walker released a statement Tuesday saying the ruling would have no bearing on their case.
“Meadow will continue the fight to hold Porsche accountable for selling a defective product that kills,” the statement said.
Porsche has contended the Walker assumed all risk with the vehicle.