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SpaceX cleared in $20M wrongful death lawsuit following Texas car crash

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX was cleared of responsibility this week in connection to a $20 million wrongful death suit filed by the family of a Texas man who was killed in a car crash near the firm’s facility on the outskirts of Brownsville, Texas.

The family of Carlos Venegas, 35, was seeking damages after he was killed and his family members suffered severe injuries in a collision with an 18-wheeler. A complaint alleged the truck had blocked a Texas public highway while attempting to enter SpaceX’s facility to deliver supplies.

A US District Judge dismissed the complaint against SpaceX, agreeing with the recommendation of a magistrate judge who argued Texas legal precedents shielded the company for liability in the crash.

“A landowner’s duty to exercise reasonable care not to endanger the safety of persons on an abutting highway does not create an obligation to guard passing motorists against the possible negligence of an independent contractor over whom the landowner exercises no control and whose competence to perform his duties the landowner has no reason to doubt,” US Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan said in his recommendation to dismiss, according to Bloomberg.

SpaceX crash
The family of Carlos Venegas, 35, was seeking damages after he was killed and his family members suffered severe injuries in a collision with an 18-wheeler.
Texas Department of Public Safet

The Venegas family initially sued SpaceX for negligence last March.

According to a complaint, the family was returning home from a camping trip in the early morning hours on June 7, 2020 when their vehicle slammed into the truck, which was attempting to turn into the SpaceX facility.

Carlos Venegas died of head trauma at the scene of the accident, while his wife and children suffered spine and leg injuries.

SpaceX
SpaceX was accused of negligence in connection to a fatal car crash.
REUTERS

“Without any reflective signage, lighting of any kind, warning markers, reflective markers, stop lights, stop signs, cones, security personnel, or safety systems, the Venegas family could not see the truck at all,” the complaint said, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The Venegas family’s attorney argued SpaceX failed to take adequate safety measures to protect drivers near the facility. Meanwhile, SpaceX argued it wasn’t responsible because the accident did not occur on its property.

spacex
SpaceX plans to launch thousands of satellites into orbit in the coming years.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

SpaceX conducts launches from its Brownsville facility. The private space firm plans to launch thousands of satellites into orbit in the coming years.



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