‘The Walking Dead’ Stuntman’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Will Go to Trial in December, Judge Rules

Stuntman John Bernecker died in 2017 due to injuries suffered in a fall on show’s Georgia set

Last Updated: October 10, 2019 @ 12:33 PM

A judge has ruled that the wrongful death lawsuit against AMC over the death of a stuntman on the set of “The Walking Dead” will go forward to trial in December.

In a ruling issued earlier this week, Judge Emily Brantley denied AMC’s motion to dismiss the case on the basis that it could not be held responsible for the 2017 death of John Bernecker because the stuntman had assumed responsibility for the stunt himself. The case is set to go to trial in Gwinnett County, Georgia on Dec. 9.

“This was a tragic accident,” AMC said in a statement. “While we continue to believe our motions for summary judgment were appropriate and supported by the facts in this case and the law, we respect the Court’s decision — without making any determination on the merits of either side’s arguments — to allow the case to proceed.”

Bernecker’s mother filed the wrongful death lawsuit in 2018, blaming AMC’s low budget for inadequate safety precautions and Bernecker’s subsequent death in 2017. In the suit, Susan Bernecker said the network “orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing ‘The Walking Dead’ cheaply and, ultimately, unsafely.”

She said the show’s network pressured Stalwart Films, the production company, to cut corners on safety measures in order to keep the budget and expenses to a minimum, leading to her son’s death due to injuries he sustained in a fall on the set in Senoia, just south of Atlanta.

The suit also named the episode’s director, stunt coordinator and an actor who was shooting a scene with John Bernecker, as well as other companies associated with AMC and Stalwart Films.

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