WalMart Sued for HOS Negligenceby Jana Ritter - Published: 8/12/2014
Tracy Morgan’s attorney Benedict appeared on Monday’s “Today” show saying his famous client still hasn't recovered from the injuries he sustained in June, when a truck driver crashed into the limousine carrying him and his entourage home from a stand up show. Benedict appeared on “Today” to provide an update on Morgan’s condition and discuss their current lawsuit against Wal-Mart.
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On June 7th, Morgan and his group were returning from a stand-up show in Dover, Delaware early June 7 when truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, crashed into their vehicle with his Wal-Mart tractor trailer, while speeding 20 mph over the limit on the New Jersey Turnpike. While Morgan suffered a broken leg and ribs, the most tragic result of the crash was that it took the life of Morgan’s close-friend and comedian James McNair – a.k.a Jimmy Mack. Assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardley Fugua were also injured and Fuqua still remains hospitalized two months later.
On July 10, Morgan's lawyer sued Wal-Mart for negligence, claiming that the company should have known that its driver, Kevin Roper, had been awake for more than 24 hours and that a 700-mile commute from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable". "As a result of Wal-Mart’s gross, reckless, willful, wanton, and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages," court papers said. The lawsuit intends to prove that it is the company culture at Wal-Mart that employees are pushed to work illegal hours.
While Roper has been spared the liability and legal suit by Morgan’s camp, the truck driver has been facing criminal charges of death by auto and assault by auto. Prosecutors said Roper had not slept for more than 24 hours before the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, when he swerved to avoid traffic that had slowed down, then plowed into Morgan's limo bus. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board, said Roper had been driving at 65mph in a 45mph construction zone shortly before the crash. He had been on the clock for 13-and-a-half hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.
While Roper has since pleaded not guilty to his charges, Wal-Mart issued a statement last month that it was "cooperating fully" in the ongoing investigation.
"We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we're committed to doing the right thing for all involved," the retailer said.