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Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan has reached a settlement with Walmart in his lawsuit against the retail giant involving a New Jersey auto accident. The crash left Morgan badly injured and killed comedian James McNair. Walmart recently announced the settlement on its website, stating that the conditions of the settlement were confidential.
The accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike in June 2014, when a Walmart truck struck a vehicle containing Morgan, McNair and others. Kevin Roper, the driver of the truck, had reportedly been driving for over twenty-four consecutive hours when the accident occurred, which is a clear violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
The July 2014 lawsuit alleged that Walmart officials were aware of Roper’s driving schedule. The complaint accused the retailer of having a “custom and practice of recklessly and intentionally allowing its drivers to drive for prolonged and unreasonable periods of time.”
Roper plead not guilty to one count of death by auto and multiple charges of assault by auto. He attempted to delay Morgan’s lawsuit, arguing that evidence presented in Morgan’s civil case could be harmful to the driver’s criminal defense in relation to the accident. Roper’s petition to delay the civil case was denied.
Shortly after Walmart’s announcement of the settlement, Morgan issued a statement saying that he was satisfied with the terms of the agreement. “Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably,” Morgan said.
Walmart CEO Greg Foran issued his own statement to the press: “While we know there is nothing that can change what happened, Walmart has been committed to doing what’s right to help ensure the well-being of all of those who were impacted by the accident.” He went on to say, “We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved.”