UPDATE, 10:21 AM: The car was not at fault, the people behind the wheel were, said Porsche a day after Paul Walker’s teenage daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
“We have not seen the lawsuit and therefore cannot comment on its specifics,” said Porsche spokesperson Calvin Kim on Tuesday. “As we have said before, we are saddened whenever anyone is hurt in a Porsche vehicle, but we believe the authorities’ reports in this case clearly established that this tragic crash resulted from reckless driving and excessive speed.”
An investigation by law enforcement of the November 30, 2013 crash of the 2005 Porsche Carrera CT that saw Walker and driver Roger Rodas both killed said speed was the cause of the accident. In the complaint filed on September 28, Meadow Rain Walker’s lawyers say that the Fast & Furious actor died 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.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also claims that the car was traveling between “63 to 71 mph” when the fatal accident occurred. That’s far less than the 80 to around 93 mph that the police in their report cited the car going when it crashed.
PREVIOUS, SEPT. 28 PM: Nearly two years after the Fast & Furious star and his financial adviser were killed in a car crash, the teenage daughter of Paul Walker today went after the Volkswagen-owned luxury car manufacturer for her father’s death.
“In her capacity as sole heir and on behalf of the Estate of Paul William Walker IV, Plaintiff is to recover all damage to the Estate proximately caused by the wrongful death of Paul William Walker IV, including without limitation, all lost income and earnings (present and future), expenses, and all general and special damages to the extent allowed by law,” said a multi-claim jury-seeking complaint Meadow Rain Walker and her guardian Brandon Birtell filed against Porsche on Monday in L.A. Superior Court (read it here). The wrongful-death compliant does not specify damages, but a quick estimation — based on the actor’s income from the F&F franchise alone — would put this easily in the tens of millions.
While a subsequent investigation of the November 30, 2013 crash of the 2005 Porsche Carrera CT that killed Walker and driver Roger Rodas cited speed as the cause of the accident, today’s very specific filing lays the blame on the car itself and the company that allegedly cut corners. Claiming the car was going a maximum of 71 mph not nearly 100 mph, the complaint points at the lack of an “electronic stability control system,” weak building materials, fuel lines and seat belts that broke Walker’s ribs and pelvis and trapped him inside the smashed vehicle before it caught on fire and exploded. “Absent these defects in the Porsche Carrera GT, Paul Walker would be alive today,” asserts the 18-page filing. The autopsy of Walker by the LA County Coroner’s office concluded that he died of trauma and burn injuries.
Today’s filing is very similar to one that Rodas’ widow Kristine M. Rodas filed in May 2014 against Porsche. The car company has pushed back in that case, claiming in response this spring that “Roger Rodas’ death, and all other injuries or damages claimed, were the result of Roger Rodas’ own comparative fault.” Both Rodas and Walker were experienced drivers who took the Porsche out for after attending a nearby charity event. Walker had been on a Thanksgiving break from filming Fast & Furious 7 when the crash occurred.
It does bear noting that Porsches were used in the Fast & Furious movies, including the Porsche 996 GT3 RS driven by Walker’s Brian O’Conner in 2011’s Fast Five. With already shoot footage of Walker used and other sleight of movie making hand utilized, Universal released Furious 7 to massive international box office in April 2015. The fate of the O’Conner character was left ambiguous at the end of the film, which took in $1.5 billion worldwide to become the fifth highest grossing movie ever. Another Fast & Furious movie is set to come out on April 14, 2017.
Jeffery Milam of Pasadena and Roger Garrett, Ryan Squire, Jennifer Slater and Edward Racek of Garrett & Tully are representing the plaintiffs in this case.