A long-awaited answer from Walmart, regarding the crash between one of their vehicles and that of Tracy Morgan, came on Monday at a New Jersey federal court in response to a lawsuit filed by Morgan,
The six-car pile up on the New Jersey Turnpike involving one of their reportedly fatigued drivers have meant that Walmart needs to defend their position and have now done so with nine affirmative defenses.
One of those defenses is that Tracy Morgan’s injuries “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device.” In other words, Morgan wasn’t wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
One of the points in the lawsuit is that of Walmart driver, Kevin Roper’s fatigue levels at the time of the crash. Roper had allegedly commuted 700 miles from his home before beginning his driving shift and was thus awake for over 24 hours straight.
The lawsuit states “Walmart knew or should have known” that Roper had been “awake for more than 24 consecutive hours” before the crash.
For their part, Walmart have been careful not to go into any details about the specifics of the crash. Though they say they have been designated by the National Transportation Safety Board as a party in an investigation of the accident.
Walmart cites a part of transportation law as limiting the dissemination of investigative information,
“Accordingly, absent entry of a Protective Order and adequate protections by the Court to maintain the confidential nature of Wal-Mart’s responses as required by the NTSB on-going investigation, Wal-Mart is unable to admit or deny” various allegations in the lawsuit.
Regarding the failure of the parties to be properly restrained with seatbelts, which is required by law, Walmart said, “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.”
It remains to be seen what the outcome of the lawsuit brought by Tracy Morgan against Walmart will be as the case continues.