Porsche Isn't Responsible for Driver's Death in Paul Walker Crash, Judge Says

The luxury car company is facing multiple wrongful death lawsuits in connection to the 2013 death of actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas.
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Paul Walker in 'Furious 7'

The Porsche driven by Paul Walker's friend Roger Rodas is not responsible for the death of the two men that resulted from a high-speed crash in 2013, according to a federal judge's Monday ruling.  

The Rodas family filed a federal lawsuit in January, claiming a defect in the car's suspension contributed to the deadly crash, following a similar state lawsuit filed in 2014 that is still pending.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip S. Gutierrez on Monday granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Porsche.

The bulk of his ruling addresses Rodas' product liability claims.  

"Where a case involves scientific issues that are 'beyond the experience of laymen,' expert testimony is required to establish causation," Gutierrez wrote, adding that the initial report created by Rodas' expert was insufficient and a declaration submitted from the same expert directly contradicts the first report. 

"Defendant has carried its summary judgment burden by demonstrating that Plaintiff failed to offer any admissible evidence from which a jury could reasonably find that this accident was caused by a broken toe adjustor rod," wrote Gutierrez. "Plaintiff has failed to raise a triable issue of fact on the issue of causation, an essential element of its claim."

Gutierrez also granted summary judgment to Porsche on Rodas’ survival and wrongful death claims because there was "no competent evidence that Rodas’ death occurred as a result of any wrongdoing" by Porsche.

Rodas' attorney Mark Geragos emailed a brief statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying the decision is "a miscarriage of justice which we hope to reverse on appeal."

The actor's father, Paul Walker III, and daughter Meadow Walker are each also suing Porsche for similar claims.

Meadow's attorney Jeffrey Milam sent THR a statement via email on Tuesday saying this ruling by a federal judge has no effect on their lawsuit pending in L.A. County Superior Court. 

"The issues in the cases are very different," Milam writes. "The federal case was filed on behalf of Roger Rodas, who was the driver of the Porsche Carrera GT and was killed instantly upon impact. Meadow's father, Paul Walker, was a passenger in the car. He survived the crash but was trapped and burned to death because of the vehicle's defects. A significant portion of the judge's decision was based on his rejection of evidence because of missed deadlines and also a failure to sue Porshe AG, the manufacturer. Meadow will continue the fight to hold Porsche accountable for selling a defective product that kills."

Paul's attorney Christopher Heck could not immediately be reached for comment.

April 5, 1:58 p.m. Updated with comments from Meadow Walker's attorney. 

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