The mother of stuntman John Bernecker, who fell to his death on the set of “The Walking Dead” in Georgia on July 12, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AMC, saying the show’s low budget led to inadequate safety precautions and her 33-year-old son’s death.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Susan Bernecker in Gwinnett County State Court obtained by TheWrap, she says AMC Networks Inc, “orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing ‘The Walking Dead’ cheaply and, ultimately, unsafely.”
Bernecker says 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 wrongful death suit also names 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.
“My goal is to do everything I can to protect other stunt performers and to ensure their safety on the set in the future,” Susan Bernecker said in a statement. “The industry is not doing enough to maintain basic safety guidelines for these performers. Worst of all, they’re scared to speak up.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are and have been with John Bernecker, his family, friends and everyone touched by this tragic accident since the moment it occurred,” AMC said in a statement on Wednesday. “We take the safety of our employees on all of our sets extremely seriously, and meet or exceed industry safety standards. Out of respect for the family, we will have no further comment on this litigation.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.