Spencer Shuford led a charge that ended in summary judgment for Porsche Cars North America, Inc. in litigation arising out of the crash in which Paul Walker died.
The case was brought by the widow of Roger Rodas, the vehicle’s driver. She claimed that the Porsche Carrera GT had insufficient side impact resistance and that it should have been equipped with racing gear such as a fuel cell and a crash cage. She also claimed that the crash itself was caused when a suspension part broke while Rodas was going only about 50 mph.
By the time the litigation was done, Rodas admitted that it was “undisputed” that Rodas was traveling nearly 100 mph in the moments before the crash, and that he had been “sucking asphalt” and hitting the rev limiter (the device that keeps the engine from being run too fast and breaking apart) as he roared around an industrial park and shopping area. She also admitted that she had been wrong about the vehicle’s crashworthiness, conceding that the vehicle’s side impact resistance so far exceeded all standards and industry practices as to be “impressive.” She also conceded that the fuel tank design did not matter (because Rodas was killed before there was any fire) and that a crash cage–which she conceded was “a little much”–would have made no difference (because the occupant compartment was not compromised). While Rodas dug in her heels on the suspension part allegation, Judge Philip Gutierrez of the United States District Court for the Central District of California found that there was “no competent evidence” to support that claim and threw out the entire case.
This came on the heels of an order rejecting Rodas’s attempt to avoid defeat by withdrawing her federal claim and proceeding to state court. Judge Gutierrez found it “persuasive that Plaintiff’s counsel appears to be forum shopping in order to rectify its own errors and avoid an adverse ruling by this Court.”