Walmart has made good with comedian Tracy Morgan over the June 2014 traffic collision involving one of its drivers that left Morgan seriously injured. Making good with its insurance companies, on the other hand, is a different matter.
The retail giant has filed a lawsuit against a number of insurance companies including Liberty Insurance Underwriters, the Ohio Casualty Insurance Company and QBE Insurance Corporation, claiming that the companies haven’t paid their portion of the settlements made as a result of the crash, Courthouse News Service reports.
“Some of Walmart’s insurance companies have met their obligations under the insurance policies they sold and compensated Walmart for a portion of the settlement amounts,” the complaint reads. “Other of Walmart’s insurance companies, the defendants here, have in bad faith refused to consent to these settlements and have refused to pay their portions of the settlement under the insurance policies that they sold.”
The collision occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Walmart truck driven by Kevin Roper collided with a limo bus carrying Morgan and others, including comedian James McNair, who was killed in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board later determined that Roper had only had four hours of “sleep opportunity” in the preceding 33 hours, diminishing his awareness.
Walmart settled with Morgan as well as McNair’s family. While the company’s settlement with Morgan was confidential, Walmart reportedly agreed to a $10 million settlement to McNair’s family.
“Walmart took full responsibility for the tragic accident and did what was right to ensure the well-being of those who were impacted. We funded the settlement agreements in full, but some of the insurance carriers have failed to pay their portion of the settlement amount,” Walmart told TheWrap in a statement. “This is no different than any individual who holds an insurance policy, makes a claim for a covered loss, and then is told by the insurance company that despite the existence of coverage, they don’t intend to pay.”
The lawsuit also claims that the insurance companies continually made “harassing and pretextual demands for more and more information” as “a pretext to avoid settling the Survivors Lawsuit.”
Alleging breach of contract, negligent failure to settle claim within policy limits and bad-faith failure to settle claim within policy limits, Walmart is seeking unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.