A federal judge rejected a wrongful death lawsuit that blamed automaker Porsche for the Santa Clarita crash that killed Paul Walker and “The Fast and the Furious” star’s close friend in 2013, court documents obtained Tuesday show.
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez determined that Kristine Rodas — the widow of the driver of the Porsche Carrera GT — provided “no competent evidence” that the German automaker should be held responsible for the crash that killed her husband and the actor.
Her suit alleged the Porsche’s suspension failed before the Nov. 30, 2013, crash.
A Porsche representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge’s Monday ruling.
Both Walker, 40, and his friend Roger Rodas, 38, died within seconds of the fiery crash from a combination of traumatic injuries and burns, coroner’s officials determined.
The ruling does not affect wrongful-death suits brought last year in Los Angeles Superior Court by Walker’s father and daughter Meadow, who was 15 when her father died.
Both of those suits claim the car manufacturer ignored safety regulations when loading the 2005 Carerra GT with an engine capable of speeds up to 205 mph.
Jeff Milam, Meadow Rain Walker’s lawyer, issued a statement saying her lawsuit is different from Rodas’ widow’s suit because he was killed instantly in the crash and Walker was not.
“He survived the crash but was trapped and burned to death because of the vehicle’s defects,” Milam said. “A significant portion of the judge’s decision — in the Rodas case — 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.”
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the actor’s daughter alleges a defective seat belt kept her father trapped alive for more than a minute in the Porsche before it became engulfed in flames.
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.
Authorities have said that high speed was a factor in 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.
The crash site was in the 25600 block of Hercules Street, about a mile away from the Magic Mountain amusement park. The loop road is in an industrial park in Rye Canyon, with two small streets in or out.
The duo took the 600-horsepower car for a ride after attending a charity event organized by Walker’s Reach Out WorldWide organization, which helps provide relief efforts in response to natural disasters around the world.
Walker starred as undercover Los Angeles police detective Brian O’Conner in the 2001 film “The Fast and the Furious” and five sequels. The Glendale native, who grew up in Sun Valley, was in the midst of filming “Fast & Furious 7” at the time of his death.
— Wire reports
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