Tracy Morgan could have prevented the injuries he sustained during an accident in June if he had worn a seat belt, retail giant Wal-Mart claims in legal papers obtained by TheWrap.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Monday, Wal-Mart — which is being sued over the accident by Morgan — claims that Morgan and others involved in the accident failed to take proper precautions in the accident, which occurred on the New Jersey turnpike when a Wal-Mart truck struck the vehicle that Morgan was traveling in.
“[P]laintiffs’ injuries, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an available seatbelt restraint device,” Wal-Mart’s response to Morgan’s complaint reads. “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. Accordingly, all or a portion of the injuries could have been diminished or minimized by the exercise or reasonable conduct in using their available seatbelts.”
Former “30 Rock” star Morgan was left in critical condition by the six-vehicle accident, which resulted in one death and four hospitalizations.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, Kevin Roper, the driver of the Wal-Mart truck, was driving 65 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. construction zone just prior to the crash. Roper, who was commuting from Georgia to a Wal-Mart distribution center in Delaware at the time of the crash, has pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto.
Morgan and other victims of the accident filed suit in July, claiming that Wal-Mart “knew or should have known” that Roper had been awake “for more than 24 consecutive hours” prior to the accident, in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
The suit claims that Roper had fallen asleep at the wheel before the crash.
The complaint also alleges that Wal-Mart has The suit further alleges that Wal-Mart “had a custom and practice of recklessly and intentionally allowing its drivers to drive for prolonged and unreasonable periods of time.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.