Ever since the horrific six-vehicle crash that took the life of comedian Jimmy Mack and nearly killedTracy Morgan, we’ve been cautiously and optimistically following Morgan recovery. When last we checked in, comedian Neal Brennan offered a funny anecdote that indicated Morgan is — at least on the humor side — back to his old self.
Which brings us to the inevitably icky part of the saga: the legal proceedings. Morgan sued Walmart back in July, claiming their driver, Kevin Roper, was doing 65 MPH in a 45 MPH zone and had been awake for more than 24 hours (and driving for more than nine consecutive hours) when he slammed one of the company’s trucks into the back of Morgan’s limousine.
Yesterday, Walmart finally fired back, essentially claiming that everything would be okay if Tracy and his friends had just buckled up:
Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and other people in a limousine struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck on a highway in June are at least partly to blame for their injuries because they weren’t wearing seat belts, the company said in a court filing Monday. (…)Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said in the filing that the passengers’ injuries were caused “in whole or in part” by their “failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device,” which it said constitutes unreasonable conduct.
The claim that Morgan “acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs’ own best interests” was met with disdain by Morgan’s attorney, who called the claims “surprising and appalling,” citing Walmart’s original June 7 statement that the company would “take full responsibility” if its truck was to blame for the crash.
Though the company denies engaging in any conduct that would warrant an award of punitive damages, Walmart has demanded that Morgan and the rest of the victims submit a written statement with a dollar figure. As Sean O’Neal points out at AV Club, that’s a strong indication that this case is headed toward an out-of-court settlement.