Any Porsche sold in California must comply with the state’s emissions standards, so any effort by the carmaker to avoid being sued by the daughter of actor Paul Walker due to a lack of business ties in the state is “utterly frivolous,” according to the daughter’s attorneys.
According to papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, 16-year-old Meadow Rain Walker’s lawyers say that any Porsche intended for sale in California, including the one that was involved in the accident that killed her father, must comply with the state’s anti-pollution requirements.
“One must wonder what would have happened to Porsche AG’s ability to ever sell a new car in California if it had claimed to the California EPA that there is no jurisdiction over it because Porsche AG is a foreign corporation with no contacts in California,” Meadow Walker’s lawyers wrote.
They also argue that Porsche AG conceded the state had jurisdiction in two wrongful death cases in San Diego and in San Francisco.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Meadow Rain Walker alleges a defective seat belt kept her father trapped alive for more than a minute in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT before it became engulfed in flames on Nov. 30, 2013, in Valencia.
Killed along with the 40-year-old actor, who was known for his role in “The Fast and the Furious” film series, was the car’s driver, Roger Rodas, 38.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed last Sept. 28 also alleges the car had a lack of electronic stability control and inadequate side door reinforcement bars.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges wrongful death, strict liability and negligence, are HCF Porsche AG, the car’s manufacturer; Porsche Cars North America Inc., which distributes Porsche cars in the U.S.; and Beverly Hills Porsche.
Attorneys for Porsche AG state in their court papers that service of the summons and complaint on the company should be quashed. Porsche AG is not authorized to do business in California, does not maintain offices in the state, does not own property or pay taxes here and does not direct marketing efforts toward the Golden State’s residents, according to the Porsche AG lawyers’ court papers.
“Porsche AG designs and manufactures Porsche-branded motor vehicles, principally in Germany, and nowhere in California or the United States of America,” Martin Urschel, Porsche AG vice president for sales and management, says in a sworn declaration.
In most cases, Porsche AG sells its vehicles to distributors, who in turn provide them to the authorized dealers that market the cars to consumers, the Porsche AG attorneys’ court papers state.
But Meadow Walker’s lawyers contend the defense’s argument is unfounded.
“Porsche AG’s motion to quash is utterly frivolous,” her lawyers’ court papers state.
A March 23 hearing is scheduled on the Porsche AG motion.
Authorities have said that high speed caused the crash. Electronic information retrieved from the burned-out car’s computer systems determined that Rodas was driving the sports car at speeds between 80 and 93 mph when the vehicle smashed into a pole and a tree.
— Wire reports
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