Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and other passengers in a limousine struck from behind by a Walmart 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.
The filing was made in federal court in response to a lawsuit Morgan filed in July over the accident, which killed his friend James McNair, who was accompanying the former “30 Rock” star back from a show in Delaware. The lawsuit alleges the retail giant should have known that its truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours before the crash and that his commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was “unreasonable.” It also claims Kevin Roper, the driver, fell asleep at the wheel.
Morgan spent several weeks in rehab with rib and leg injuries. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said the passengers’ injuries were caused by their “failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device,” which it said constitutes unreasonable conduct. An attorney representing Morgan and the other plaintiffs didn’t immediately comment Monday.