In 1983, Porsche fought—and lost—a lawsuit that alleged its 930 Turbo was to blame in the death of Donald Fresh, where an intoxicated Cynthia Files crashed with Fresh in the passenger seat at more than double the posted speed limit. Today, Porsche is defending itself again, this time in the Paul Walker case—where the Fast and the Furious actor lost his life in the passenger seat of a speeding Carrera GT. And not only is Porsche denying any liability in the crash, it is squarely pointing the blame at Walker himself.
As the legal papers filled by Porsche state: “The perils, risk and danger were open and obvious and known to him (Paul Walker), and 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 Carrera GT
The German automaker continued, saying that the Carrera GT involved in the crash had been “abused and altered” and was “misused and improperly maintained.” Adding that, "at the time the subject 2005 Carrera GT was originally manufactured, sold and delivered, it comported with state of the art.”
The papers were filled in response to Walker’s 16-year-old daughter, Meadow, who filled her own wrongful-death suit against Porsche in September. Meadow’s lawyers allege that the Carrera GT was inherently unsafe, and if the seatbelts were designed differently, a racing fuel tank was installed and stability control was in place, Walker would have survived the fiery crash, despite the light pole it hit destroying the car beyond recognition. The suit also alleges Roger Rodas, the driver of the Porsche at the time of the wreck, was traveling significantly slower than the 80-93 mph law enforcement state.
Meadow Walker with her late father
Meadow’s lawyer told TMZ in response to Porsche denial of responsibility, “It is beyond regrettable that Porsche is trying to deflect its own responsibility by blaming the victim—Paul Walker—for his own death by getting into the passenger seat of its Carrera GT. Contrary to Porsche’s assertions, the facts are clear: Paul was the passenger in a car that was not designed to protect its occupants in a crash on a dry, empty straightaway in broad daylight and at speeds well below the vehicle’s advertised capabilities.“
Porsche called Walker "a knowledgeable and sophisticated user of the 2005 Carrera GT,” noting that the late actor knew precisely what he was getting into when he decided to climb aboard with Rodas. Time will tell whether Porsche will once again be lumped with the blame—like in the 1983 case; one thing’s for sure, the German automaker isn’t going down without a fight.