On Monday retail behemoth, Walmart filed a response to a lawsuit filed by actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others related to a highway accident in Cranbury, N.J. involving Morgan’s limousine and a Walmart owned truck. In that accident Morgan suffered substantial injuries that kept him hospitalized for weeks. Also, a member of Morgan’s entourage, comedian Jimmy Mack lost his life. Walmart employee Kevin Roper was driving the truck that struck Morgan’s limo as it travelled on the New Jersey Turnpike.
In their response to Morgan’s lawsuit, Walmart countered many of the allegations with,
Walmart lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of allegations set forth.
The statement basically says that Walmart is declining to respond to the allegations as it pertains to the driver of the truck, Kevin Roper; citing NTSB regulations. Walmart stated that it will not disseminate investigative information obtained from the NTSB’s joint investigation of the accident. However the world’s largest retailer did offer a total of nine affirmative defenses to the allegations made by Morgan and others involved in the June 7 2014 crash. Walmart alleges that Tracy Morgan himself, is partly to blame for his injuries.
In the 28 page response in U.S. District Court in New Jersey Walmart, the mega-retailer which in court fillings admits to $473.1 billion in sales is blaming the passengers in part for their own injuries. Walmart said,
Upon information and belief, plaintiffs’ injuries, if any, 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 interests. Accordingly, all or a portion of the injuries could have been diminished or minimized by the exercise of reasonable conduct in using the available seatbelts, as required by N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f.
Walmart is throwing blame for injuries as a result of the accident at Morgan and others in the vehicle. They contend; had the passengers of the limo had their seat belts fastened at the time of the crash, perhaps their injuries wouldn’t been as bad or something along those lines.
Immediately after the June 7 crash, allegations surfaced accusing Walmart driver Kevin Roper of being fatigued and that him being fatigued is the possible cause of the crash that involved six other vehicles. According to reports, Roper is believed to have been awake for 24 hours prior to the accident. Roper who was arrested and charged with four counts of assault by auto and one count of death by auto has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Morgan who appeared in the NBC sketch comedy “Saturday Night Live” for several seasons and the popular NBC sitcom “30 Rock” garnered worldwide attention and sympathy following the accident. Walmart could be headed for a PR nightmare if it seems as if the big-box retailer with billions in its coffers is refusing to compensate victims of an accident that appears to have been caused by one of their employees in their truck. It looks like the parties involved are headed to court unless a settlement can is reached.
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