The German sports car manufacturer Porsche has claimed that the death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker in a high-speed crash in November 2013 was the actor’s “own comparative fault”.
Porsche Cars North America (PCNA), which is seeking to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed on 28 September by the actor’s daughter Meadow Walker in Los Angeles, said in a legal filing that the limited-edition 2005 Porsche Carrera CT which Walker was travelling in as a passenger had been “abused and altered” as well as “misused and improperly maintained”. These alterations and failures materially contributed to the collision that killed Walker and driver Roger Rodas, and the actor was well aware of the risks when getting into the car, the manufacturer says in a seven page filing.
“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 said. “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.”
Porsche’s assertions directly contradict those filed by Meadow Walker, who claimed in her suit that the Volkswagen-owned car maker knew the model had a “history of instability and control issues” in September. She is also questioning police reports that suggest the Carrera GT was travelling at around 90mph when the accident happened, arguing that the top speed reached by the vehicle was in fact just 71mph.
Paul Walker died at the age of 40 when his Porsche Carrera crashed and burst into flames in Valencia, Santa Clarita, on 30 November 2013. Driver Rodas lost control of the vehicle, which careered into trees and a concrete lamppost, killing both men. Walker had been part of the way through the filming of Fast & Furious 7, which was delayed and eventually completed using the actor’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, as body doubles.
In other Fast & Furious news, Hollywood sites are reporting that studio Universal plans a “cinematic universe” based on the long-running street racing saga following the $1.5bn success of its most recent instalment. Prequels and spin-offs will reportedly follow a recently announced final trilogy of films, which is due to kick off with an eighth edition directed by Straight Outta Compton’s F Gary Gray in 2017.