A federal judge dismissed most of the lawsuit claims, but it can be refiled
The lawyer for the Rodas family says the lawsuit will go on
The widow of Roger Rodas accuses Porches of negligence and poor car design
Rodas was driving the Porsche when it crashed killing him and Paul Walker
The lawsuit against Porsche related to the fiery crash that killed actor Paul Walker suffered a setback in court, but a lawyer says it will go on.
Roger Rodas’ widow is suing that carmaker’s North American branch, claiming negligence and a poor design of the high-powered Porsche Carrera GT caused the crash last November.
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez dismissed four of the five grounds for the lawsuit, finding that the complaint did not include enough specifics. Rodas can revive the arguments by amending her lawsuit, Gutierrez said in an order filed in federal court Monday.
“He only granted a partial dismissal with leave to amend, which we will,” Rodas lawyer Mark Geragos told CNN Tuesday.
Kristine Rodas filed the suit against Porsche Cars North America in May, citing negligence as the cause of death of her husband and the 40-year-old “Fast and the Furious” star on November 30 in Santa Clarita, California. She also alleged product liability and wrongful death.
The only allegation that was not dismissed was the “strict liability claim” regarding the lack of a crash cage and racing fuel cell for the high-performance car.
The Rodas lawsuit contends that a “properly functioning crash cage” would have prevented the deaths by preventing “intrusion into the passenger compartment,” damage to the fuel tank, and the splitting of the vehicle in half.
Roger Rodas, 38 at the time of his death, spent his competitive racing career driving Porsche cars. According to the court documents, he and Walker first met on the race track when Rodas was driving a Porsche owned by the actor. A few years later the two men formed the racing team Always Evolving Racing, where they were both drivers.
“Although Mr. Rodas had a passion for cars, Mr. Rodas was first and foremost dedicated to his family, his wife, Kristine, and their two young children,” the complaint states.
The court documents filed by Kristine Rodas describe the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that her husband was driving as a an “ultra-high-performance-super-sports car for the road,” that goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 205 miles per hour. The complaint argues that such a high-powered sports car should have a higher standard of crash protection, and that a mechanical malfunction forced Rodas to veer off the road.
Geragos also hired investigators to evaluate wreckage at the scene, who determined that Rodas was driving 55 mph before the vehicle went out of control. This contradicts the Los Angeles County coroner’s report that car was speeding at more than 100 mph, and the investigations by the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol that focused on speed.
Porsche pointed to the discrepancy.
“As you know, the crash was subject of a very detailed investigation by the authorities, both the California Highway Patrol and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office,” said Bernd Harling, Head of Public Relations for Porsche Cars North America. “The reports showed that driving at a high speed in a negligent manner caused the crash. Both concluded that there was no mechanical defect of the vehicle involved.”
“Their investigation disproves in the allegations in the lawsuit,” he said.
CNN’s Jane Caffrey and Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.