Tracy Morgan’s legal claims against Wal-Mart have been answered by the retailer.
The 45-year-old 30 Rock star was involved in a six-car accident in June that left him severely injured and took the life of comic James McNair. Tracy and others in his vehicle subsequently sued Wal-Mart for negligence, questioning if one of their drivers was fatigued while on the road, leading to the crash. Lawyers for the company delivered their response to a New Jersey federal court on Monday, insisting they were unable to “admit or deny” allegations without confidentiality, according to The Hollywood reporter. Wal-Mart stated injuries sustained in the accident "were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs' failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device”, according to filings, which seek to bar plaintiffs from pursuing damages.
"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," the response reads.
In addition to brain injuries, Tracy broke his leg, femur, nose and busted his ribs. He was released from a rehab facility in July after spending time at the hospital in critical condition.
The comedian’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, his wife Krista Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua have also sued the corporation.
The group claimed in a lawsuit filed in July that Kevin Roper had driven 700 miles before beginning his shift with Walmart the day of the crash.
"Walmart knew or should have known [the driver had been] awake for more than 24 consecutive hours,” the plaintiffs claim.
The driver pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto. He denies having fallen asleep at the wheel.
An assessment of damages is expected to follow, according to THR.
Tracy’s spokesperson had not commented on the claims at press time.
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