Porsche defeats the first of three lawsuits brought against it.
Porsche has just won the first of three lawsuits filed against it after Paul Walker and Roger Rodas died in the former's Carrera GT back in November 2013. The widow of Rodas, Kristine Rodas, sued Porsche in May of 2014 saying that the car was lacking safety features and that the suspension failed before the crash. US District Judge Phillip S Gutierrez sided with Porsche, writing: "Plaintiff has provided no competent evidence that Rodas' death occurred as a result of any wrongdoing on the part of defendant."
In addition to arguing that the suspension failed Kristine Rodas also said the Carrera GT lacked a fuel cell and a crash cage. Gutierrez wasn't buying the lack of safety features argument and also criticized the evidence presented to prove that the Carrera GT was traveling slower than the speeds found in the California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigation. If you'll remember the CHP estimated the Porsche to be going between 80 and 93 mph in a 45 mph zone. Rodas' widow argued that the two were doing between 63 and 71 mph, but her evidence came from expert analysis on the tire marks a month and a half after the crash, not the photos taken by investigators at the scene of the crash.
Kristine Rodas plans to appeal the ruling and it's worth pointing out that this judgment has no bearing on the other two lawsuits filed against Porsche. Those were filed by Paul Walker Sr. and his daughter, Meadow Walker. The common thread in all three is that the Carrera GT lacked safety features and was unfit for road use. That argument didn't work the first time around, but as we've said before there is actually some precedent regarding lawsuits against Porsche for missing safety features. Porsche has consistently maintained that Rodas' was driving at an unsafe speed and is at fault for the crash. We'll have to see if that argument holds up when the other two suits are heard.