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Porsche Not at Fault in Crash That Killed Paul Walker, Roger Rodas, Judge Rules in Wrongful Death Suit

Paul Walker attends the "Fast & Furious 6" World Premiere at The Empire, Leicester Square on May 7, 2013 in London, England.
Paul Walker  Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Universal Pictures

On Monday, April 4, a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that Porsche was responsible for the death of Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas. The late Fast & Furious actor was riding with Rodas when their Porsche Carrera GT crashed and burst into flames, killing both men, in November 2013.

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In May 2014, Rodas’ widow, Kristine Rodas, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the luxury car company, claiming the car lacked crucial safety features that would have prevented the men’s deaths.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ruled on Monday that there was no evidence that the Porsche’s suspension failed before the crash or that the car lacked a “properly functioning crash cage” and “fuel cell.” The judge also denied Kristine’s claim that the company failed to warn drivers about the “substandard side impact protection.”

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Paul Walker and Rodger Rodas Memorial Tribute
Paul Walker and Rodger Rodas’ memorial tribute. Chris Hatcher/

Gutierrez ruled that Rodas’ fatal injuries did not occur from the passenger compartment, but rather when he and Walker collided during the crash, which a crash cage wouldn’t prevent. Gutierrez also noted that the impact force came from the front of the vehicle and not the side, and that there was “undisputed evidence” showing that Rodas died from fire resulting from racing fuel.

Kristine’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said on Tuesday, April 5, that they plan on appealing.

Kristine’s case has no bearing on the two other cases filed by Walker’s daughter, Meadow Walker, and his dad, Paul Walker III. Both are still pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Meadow’s attorney, Jeff Milan, told Us Weekly in a statement that the ruling will have no effect on her case.

“The issues in the cases are very different. 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,” his statement read. “Meadow will continue to fight to hold Porsche accountable for selling a defective product that kills.”

As previously reported, an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol concluded that unsafe speed caused the crash, and that Walker and Rodas were traveling at 94 mph when the posted speed limit was 45 mph.

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Both Kristine and the Walker’s lawsuits, however, claim that they were traveling at a much lower speed.

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