Wal-Mart claims Tracy Morgan responsible for his crash injuries
by Carol Thompson
In court papers filed Sept. 29, retail giant Wal-Mart claims that comedian Tracy Morgan is responsible for his own crash injuries because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
In June, Morgan and four others were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike in a limousine van when a Wal-Mart Transportation tractor trailer driven by Kevin Roper failed to reduce speed when traffic had slowed and slammed into the back of the limousine, killing one and severely injuring three passengers, including Morgan. The accident claimed the life of James McNair of Peekskill, New York, a comedian and one of Morgan’s writers.
Morgan, Ardley Fuqua, Jr. and Jeffrey Millea all filed suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Wal-Mart for injuries sustained in the accident. The plaintiffs allege that Wal-Mart’s negligence was a substantial contributing factor to the crash by allegedly allowing a truck driver to drive hundreds of miles while fatigued.
Wal-Mart alleges in its most recent legal filing that the plaintiffs’ injuries “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device. By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seatbelts, upon information and belief, plaintiffs acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs’ own best interest.” Wal-Mart further contends that all or a portion of the injuries could have been minimized or diminished had the plaintiffs worn seatbelts.
Wal-Mart also asked the court to set aside punitive damages and demanded a jury trial.
Other allegations were responded to with the standard answer, “Accordingly, absent entry of a Protective Order and adequate protections by the Court to maintain the confidential nature of Wal-Mart’s responses as required by the NTSB on-going investigation, Wal-Mart is unable to admit or deny… .”
Wal-Mart also argued that the company “… did not engage in any wanton or willful conduct that would warrant an award of punitive damages.”
Millea’s wife, Krista, is also a plaintiff to the lawsuit.
Morgan, 45, suffered with a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken bones.
Four other vehicles were involved in the accident. No one in those vehicles were injured.
Image: David Shankbone, Flickr