Few movie fans or car enthusiasts can forget the tragic death of Paul Walker which occurred just under two years ago in November 2013. The 40 year old movie star, best known for appearing in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, died in an accident involving a Porsche Carrera GT car, driven by his friend Roger Rodas. Rodas was also killed in the crash.
The pair were appearing at a charity event for Paul Walker’s own charitable foundation Reach Out Worldwide in the Porsche car, and were, according to the Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County, doing up to 93 miles per hour when they crashed. They collided with several trees and a pole. After investigation, the fatalities were attributed to reckless driving and speed.
Meadow Walker’s Claims Against Porsche
Paul Walker’s death was mourned by fans all over the world, and the movie franchise that made him famous paid homage to his role in the films by using a CGI Paul Walker to complete many of the scenes in Fast and Furious 7, which was released earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim. Closer to home, his family were devastated by his tragic death and now, his 16 year old daughter Meadow Walker believes that problems in the Porsche Carrera GT’s design actually caused his death by preventing him from getting out of the vehicle after the impact (which he reportedly survived), leaving him to be burned to death as the stricken car caught on fire.
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Meadow Walker believes that her father could have survived the incident had the seatbelt not pulled him back so hard his pelvis and ribs were broken, leaving him unable to get out of the passenger seat of the Porsche vehicle. Her lawsuit also claims that the car does not feature sufficient safeguards to prevent it from catching fire after a collision.
The combination of these factors suggest that Walker, due to his injuries was unable to escape the blaze that took his life, and was subjected to a painful and horrific death in the fire. No figure has as yet been revealed in terms of how much Meadow’s claim is for.
At the time Meadow Walker’s lawsuit was reported, Porsche had issued an initial response but had not yet seen and reviewed the claims made against them. Calvin Kim, who is a spokesman for the German luxury car giant, stated: “As we have said before, we are saddened whenever anyone is hurt in a Porsche vehicle, but we believe the authorities’ reports in this case clearly established that this tragic crash resulted from reckless driving and excessive speed.”
The Porsche Carrera GT is a ‘supercar’ and one of the fastest road legal cars on the market, which is also used for racing. It will be interesting to see how this high profile lawsuit affects the high end car industry, given that Paul Walker was such a passionate motoring enthusiast and fan of these kinds of vehicles.
The widow of a cyclist who was involved in a fatal accident north of Whistler, B.C., is suing the driver of the vehicle and its owner for negligence.
Ross Chafe was cycling downhill on Highway 99 – known as the Sea to Sky Highway, around 50 kilometers north of Whistler when he was hit and killed by a car which drove into his path on May 31. The accident also claimed the lives of another cyclist, Kelly Blunden, and the front-seat passenger in the 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier, Paul Pierre Jr. A third cyclist who was riding with the pair was not injured in the collision.
Chafe was a well respected businessman and member of the community in Whistler, with many locals agreeing that he will be sorely missed. Blunden is described as a family man, and leaves behind adult children. He worked in the IT department of the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
In a statement which was filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Chafe’s wife Lizanne Bussieres accuses the driver, Samuel Alec, of being negligent and driving the car whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs or impaired. She has also raised allegations against the owner of the vehicle Carmen Ned, saying that Ned knew that Alec was intoxicated or impaired, and allowed him to use the car even though it was not properly maintain. Neither Alec nor Ned have yet filed statements of defense, and the allegations brought by Bussieres have yet to be tested in court.
The statement of claim reports that Bussieres has filed the action under the Family Compensation Act for her own benefit and the benefit of herself and Chafe’s children, aged 17, 15, and 11. Bussieres says that both she and her children are seeking some relief due to their loss of guidance, support, household assistance and inheritance. Along with this, she is also seeking special damages to cover the funeral and memorial services.
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President of Whistler Cycling Club, Frank Savage, says that cyclists are quite vulnerable on the roads. In an interview with The Whistler Question, he said “We all ride thousands of kilometers on the Sea to Sky highway. We’re out there all the time, several days a week. We’re vulnerable and drunk drivers are the absolute worst”.
Allegedly, Alec has a long history of impaired driving, and driving on a suspended license. Among the sentences that he has received are jail time and driving prohibition.
In August, it was announced by RCMP that Samuel Alec was charged with a number of different offenses. These include causing death by impaired driving, criminal negligence resulting in death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. It was later discovered that at the time of the accident, the driver had a suspended license as a result of a previous conviction for impaired driving in October 2014. Alec is likely to be facing further jail time and driving prohibition as a result of these charges should a jury find him guilty when it goes to court.
Whistleblowers laws allow for people who perceive wrongdoings in their company to call upon them and bring the employers to justice. There are numerous whistleblowers laws and acts in the U.S. which allow people to complain. However, a lot of employers are now in fear all false claims precisely because whistleblowers have been given too much protection and credibility.
How can we protect the justice? It is not about the whistleblowers or the employers, justice needs protection. Those who have done something wrong should be prosecuted for it. Similarly, those who use Medicare Fraud as a means of bullying the employer should be brought to justice.
False Claims Reform Act of 1986
Back in 1863, the False Claims Act wrote a civil penalty which stated that “double the amount of damages suffered by the government, plus a $2,000 forfeiture for each false claim submitted.
” Amendments in 1943 and 1986 were enacted to “increase detection and prosecution of false claims submitted to the federal government.” The further reform includes the Reform Act of 1986, which was “the brain-child of public-interest attorney John R. Phillips.”
According to the Reform Act of 1986, if the Attorney General elects to take over the case, whistleblowers are guaranteed 15 to 25 percent of funds recovered through trial as well as legitimate compensation for any legal fees, litigation costs, back pay, and other damages. If, on the other hand, the Attorney General chooses not elect to take over the case, the whistleblowers are guaranteed 25 to 30 percent of the winnings.
Furthermore, in the Act, 7 acts which can be prosecuted as false acts are defined. According to False Claims Reform Act of 1986, individuals can be prosecuted only if they knowingly defrauded the government with false claims. This word ‘knowingly’ allows a more broad interpretation of the law. By ‘knowingly’, the Act actually states that the person who makes a false claim will be prosecuted the only if they had “actual knowledge of the information, acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information, or acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information”. What this means is that violators can be prosecuted not on “clear and convincing the evidence” which was require it in the 1863 Act, but only on a “preponderance of evidence”. Therefore, the employee doesn’t some needs to prove a false claim, because this claim has been made “in good faith-belief that a violation had been committed”.
Are Whistleblowers Protected Under The False Claims Act?
With the accent put on “knowing”, a lot of false claims can be made with the excuse that they did not know. This, unfortunately, leaves place for many wrongful accusations, which of course are as equally bad as violations which are reported, or not reporting violations in the first place. This is precisely why justice is very complex.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information on legal matters. This article is no substitution for an expert’s legal advice. Consult a lawyer or an attorney if you are in need of a legal advice.