The luxury car manufacturer claims that the November 30, 2013 crash that killed Fast & Furious star Paul Walker was his “own comparative fault.” Seeking to have the wrongful death lawsuit that the actor’s teenage daughter filed in late September tossed, Porsche said late last week that the 2005 Porsche Carrera CT Walker and driver Roger Rodas were in had been “abused and altered” as well as “misused and improperly maintained.”
The company formally contends in their 7-page filing (read it here) that such changes contributed to Walker’s death in a fiery crash that Thanksgiving break. That’s in direct contradiction to the jury seeking complaint that Meadow Rain Walker and her guardian Brandon Birtell filed in L.A. Superior Court on September 28. The teen’s lawyers allege that Walker was killed because the car lacked the necessary electronic stability control system and he was trapped in the burning vehicle by a “defective” seat belt, among other causes. In their response on November 12, the Volkswagen-owned Porsche also says that the seasoned driver of the blockbuster car movies knew the car could be dangerous.
“PCNA alleges that Mr. Walker knowingly and voluntarily assumed all risk, perils and danger in respect to the use of the subject 2005 Carrera GT, that the perils, risk and danger were open and obvious and known to him, and that he chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself to such perils, dangers and risks, thus assuming all the risks involved in using the vehicle,” Porsche adds. “Mr. Walker’s voluntary assumption of the risk should bar the plaintiff’s recovery or, in the alternative, should reduce the plaintiff’s right to recovery from PCNA in an amount equivalent to Mr. Walker’s fault.”
There might also be other contested issues to be addressed if the lawsuit survives Porsche’s attempt at summary judgment. The younger Walker’s unspecified damages seeking lawsuit also says that the Carrera CT was traveling between “63 to 71 mph” when the fatal crash in Santa Clarita occurred. That’s far less than the 80 to around 93 mph that the police in their report said the vehicle was going when the accident occurred.
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Lawyers from Newport Beach firm Lee, Hong, Degerman, Kang & Waimey as well as Richmond, Virginia’s Spencer Shuford LLP are representing Porsche in the legal action. One of the company’s in-house attorney Jeffrey W. Gates is also involved. Jeffery Milam of Pasadena and Roger Garrett, Ryan Squire, Jennifer Slater and Edward Racek of Garrett & Tully are representing the younger Walker and the actor’s estate in the case.
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