Walmart to Tracy Morgan: Fasten Your Seatbelt Next Time!

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Walmart believes Tracy Morgan and other people in a limousine struck from behind by one of the company's trucks in June are at least partly to blame for it.

Their reasoning is simple: Morgan wasn't wearing a seatbelt, the company said in a court filing Monday in response to the lawsuit filed by the actor.

Tracy Morgan in NYC
The Walmart Logo

The accident killed Morgan's friend James McNair, who was accompanying the former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star back from a show in Delaware.

Morgan was in dire condition after the collision and spent several weeks in rehab with rib and leg injuries, but thankfully the 45-year-old pulled through.

Walmart says that as tragic as this all was, it was caused "in whole or in part" by their "failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device."

That, the company says, constitutes unreasonable conduct. An attorney representing Morgan called those very contentions "surprising and appalling."

"It's disingenuous," attorney Benedict Morelli said.

"It's not what they said they were going to do initially, which was take full responsibility. I'm very upset, not for myself but for the families I represent."

The lawsuit says that the retail giant should have known that its truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours before the crash took place.

His commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable," Morgan's camp says, and the driver was asleep at the wheel.

A Walmart spokeswoman said that the company "continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter."

Morgan seeks a jury trial and punitive damages. Passengers Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea and Millea's wife, Krista Millea, also are named as plaintiffs.

Krista Millea was not in the limo when the intense crash occurred but is a plaintiff because she has a related loss-of-services lawsuit stemming from it.

Truck driver Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, has already pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges in state court.

A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash occurred, which would be a violation of New Jersey law.

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Tracy Morgan Biography

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Tracy Morgan got big via SNL and then struck is really big on 30 Rock. It's unclear how much of his character, Tracy Jordan, is simply a... More »
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