Lawyers for a Porsche entity sued for wrongful death by the teenage daughter of actor Paul Walker lost a round in court when a judge denied a motion by the company’s lawyers to remove their client as a defendant.
Chatsworth Superior Court Judge Stephen Pfahler issued a final ruling Tuesday rejecting defense claims that HCF Porsche AG, the car’s manufacturer, should be dismissed from Meadow Rain Walker’s lawsuit.
The suit, filed on behalf of the 17-year-old last Sept. 28, 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 Santa Clarita.
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 lawsuit 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, Porsche Cars North America Inc., which distributes Porsche cars in the U.S.; and Beverly Hills Porsche.
In their court papers, attorneys for Porsche AG said service of the summons and complaint on the company should have been 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.
However, lawyers for Meadow Walker argued in their court papers that any Porsche sold in California must comply with the state’s emissions standards, so an effort by the carmaker to avoid being sued by the daughter of late actor Paul Walker due to a lack of business ties in the state was “utterly frivolous.”
–City News Service