PAUL WALKER’S DAUGHTER SUES PORSCHE
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul Walker’s daughter sued Porsche for wrongful death Monday, claiming the sports car that her father was in when he was killed suffered from numerous design defects.
The lawsuit filed by Meadow Rain Walker seeks unspecified damages for defects that her lawyers claim kept the actor trapped in the Porsche Carrera GT when it crashed and burst into flames in November 2013.
Walker was on a break from filming the seventh film in the “Fast & Furious” franchise when he was killed. He was riding in the Carrera GT driven by friend and business associate Roger Rodas when the car spun out of control, struck three trees and burst into flames on a street in Santa Clarita, California.
The wrongful-death suit claims the car, which was marketed as a street-legal race car, lacked a proper stability control system and safeguards to protect occupants and keep it from catching fire after a collision.
“Absent these defects in the Porsche Carrera GT, Paul Walker would be alive today,” the lawsuit states.
An email sent to representatives of Porsche Cars North America was not immediately returned.
The 18-page lawsuit includes a detailed recounting of the crash and contends that the Porsche was traveling 63 to 71 mph (101 to 114 kph) when it spun out of control.
Investigators concluded the Porsche was going much faster – up to 94 mph (151 kph) – when it crashed.
The investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol concluded that it was unsafe speed and not mechanical problems that caused the crash. That investigation was aided by engineers from Porsche, who evaluated the wreckage of the rare car.
Meadow Walker’s lawsuit contends Porsche didn’t include a stability control system in the Carrera GT model Rodas was driving but includes it in other models. It also claims the car lacked proper reinforcements in its doors and used rubber fuel lines that didn’t break free to prevent a fire in a crash.
Similar allegations of design and safety defects were included in a wrongful death lawsuit by Rodas’ widow, Kristine Rodas, that remains pending in a federal court in Los Angeles. Rodas was trained as a race car driver and was only driving 55 mph (89 kph), according to his wife’s lawsuit. He left behind two young children when he died.
Walker, the star of the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, co-owned an auto racing team with Rodas named Always Evolving. Meadow Walker, 16, is the sole heir of his estate.
Walker’s two brothers helped complete action scenes in “Furious 7,” which earned more than $1.5 billion globally after it was released in April.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
This story has been corrected to show the title of the latest film is “Furious 7” not “Fast & Furious 7.”