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Walmart has refuted claims that it is deliberately stalling a legal action related to a car crash which injured Tracy Morgan and killed fellow comedian James McNair.
Tracy Morgan’s attorneys have accused the retailer of using truck driver Kevin Roper at the centre of the accident to block a resolution to the 30 Rock star’s case.
Kevin Roper is trying to put Tracy Morgan’s legal action on hold while he faces separate criminal charges.
He was at the wheel of a Walmart truck that crashed into Tracy Morgan’s bus.
James McNair died in the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike last June, while Tracy Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken bones.
Kevin Roper, who is not named in Tracy Morgan’s action, has been charged with death by vehicle and four counts of assault by vehicle.
Last month he filed a request to delay Tracy Morgan’s federal lawsuit while his criminal case proceeds in New Jersey’s state court.
Walmart said the accusation that it was “somehow behind Kevin Roper’s motion in an attempt to delay discovery is simply false”.
Its statement followed claims from Tracy Morgan’s legal team that Walmart was “attempting to gain an unfair advantage” and using Kevin Roper’s request as “a ploy to further delay this trial”.
Tracy Morgan’s legal team has accused Walmart of being “careless and negligent” in requiring Kevin Roper to drive while fatigued.
Walmart have contended that Tracy Morgan’s injuries and James McNair’s death were partly their own fault because they were not wearing seatbelts.
Tracy Morgan has been released from hospital, five weeks after being seriously injured in a car crash in New York.
Tracy Morgan will continue his recovery at home with an “aggressive outpatient program,” said spokesman Lewis Kay.
“He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point.”
The actor’s legs, nose and ribs were broken on June y when a Wal-Mart truck crashed into his vehicle in New York.
The wreck killed comedian James McNair, who went by the stage name Jimmy Mack.
Tracy Morgan will continue his recovery at home with an aggressive outpatient program (photo Twitter)
Tracy Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. were also injured in the crash.
On Thursday, Tracy Morgan’s lawyers sued Wal-Mart for negligence, claiming the retailer should have known that its driver had been awake for more than 24 hours, and that a 700-mile commute from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was “unreasonable”.
“As a result of Wal-Mart’s gross, reckless, willful, wanton, and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages,” court papers said.
Truck driver Kevin Roper has separately pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto charges.
Prosecutors said Kevin Roper had not slept for more than 24 hours before the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, when he swerved to avoid traffic that had slowed down, ploughing into Morgan’s limo bus.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board, said Kevin Roper had been driving at 65mph in a 45mph construction zone shortly before the crash.
Kevin Roper had been on the clock for 13-and-a-half hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.
In a statement issued Saturday, Wal-Mart said it was “cooperating fully” in the ongoing investigation.
“We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved,” the retailer said.
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Tracy Morgan’s condition has been “upgraded” to “fair”, 10 days after he was badly injured in a car crash, his spokesman has said.
The comedian has made a “great improvement” and “his personality is certainly starting to come back as well”, Lewis Kay said.
Tracy Morgan’s medical condition has been upgraded to fair, 10 days after he was badly injured in a car crash
Tracy Morgan, 45, was described as “critical but stable” last week after breaking his legs, nose and ribs when a Wal-Mart truck driver crashed into his vehicle.
Driver Kevin Roper charged with death by auto and assault has pleaded not guilty.
Kevin Roper, 35, made his plea in court on June 11. Prosecutors said he had not slept for more than 24 hours before the accident on June 7.
He swerved to avoid traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, crashing into Tracy Morgan’s van and killing comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack.
The driver’s bail has been set at $50,000 and he could face more than a decade in prison if convicted.
Jeff Millea, Tracy Morgan’s 36-year-old assistant, who was also in critical condition after the crash, has been upgraded to fair condition as well. Fellow comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. was also seriously injured.
Tracy Morgan is showing signs of improvement, according to his publicist, after being badly injured in a car crash on Saturday.
Tracy Morgan, 45, is in a critical but stable condition after breaking his legs, nose and ribs when a Wal-Mart truck driver crashed into his vehicle.
“Today was a better day,” said spokesman Lewis Kay, adding that doctors are “optimistic”.
Tracy Morgan’s friend, fellow comedian James McNair, died in the accident.
Tracy Morgan is showing signs of improvement after being badly injured in New Jersey car crash (photo Twitter)
Also known as Jimmy Mack, a memorial service was held for James McNair on Thursday in his hometown of Peekskill, New York.
Tracy Morgan starred alongside Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin in the comedy series 30 Rock and is a former regular on Saturday Night Live.
According to Lewis Kay, Tracy Morgan’s fiancée Megan Wollover is with him as he recovers from an operation on his leg and is relaying everyone’s good wishes.
Wal-Mart truck driver Kevin Roper has pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto charges in court.
Prosecutors said Kevin Roper had not slept for more than 24 hours before the crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, when he swerved to avoid traffic that had slowed down, ploughing into Tracy Morgan’s limo bus.
Wal-Mart has said it believes Kevin Roper was in compliance with federal safety regulations but has promised to cooperate with the investigation.
Another two people were seriously injured in the accident after the limo bus flipped over, fellow comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. and Tracy Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea.
Lewis Kay told reporters he had been informed by Jeffrey Millea’s wife that her husband had also “shown much improvement over the past few days”.
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Wal-Mart truck driver Kevin Roper, who was charged over the fatal crash that also injured Tracy Morgan, is due in court today.
Court papers claim the 35-year-old driver had not slept for more than 24 hours before the accident early on Saturday morning.
Kevin Roper swerved to avoid traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, crashing into Tracy Morgan’s limo bus and killing fellow comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack.
The driver is facing death by auto and assault charges.
Kevin Roper was charged over the fatal crash that also injured Tracy Morgan
Tracy Morgan, who was nominated for an Emmy for his role in 30 Rock, is in a critical but stable condition after surgery on his leg at the weekend.
Earlier this week, Tracy Morgan’s spokesman Lewis Kay dismissed online rumors that his leg had to be amputated, calling them “completely fabricated”.
Tracy Morgan suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs in the accident, in which two other passengers were seriously injured.
One further passenger was treated and released from the hospital on Saturday while the limo driver and another passenger were unhurt.
New Jersey State Police have now released audio recordings of the three emergency calls made after the crash.
One unidentified woman told the operator: “It’s a terrible accident. The car flipped. It’s on its side. It’s two vehicles and a Wal-Mart truck.”
Tracy Morgan, who also starred in Saturday Night Live, was scheduled to start filming ten episodes of a new half-hour comedy show in August, for cable network FX.
“The only thing we are concerned with is the health and recovery of Tracy Morgan and the victims of this tragic accident,” said the network in a statement.
“We will support Tracy and his family in every way possible throughout his recovery. At the point when Tracy has recovered and decides that he is ready to go back to work, his show will be waiting for him.”
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Kevin Roper, the driver of the truck involved in a fatal crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan, was awake for more than 24 hours before the incident, according to court papers.
Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper, 35, from Georgia, has been charged with death by auto, and is due in court on Wednesday.
Tracy Morgan is improving but still critical after the multi-vehicle crash on a New Jersey highway on Saturday.
The actor is expected to remain in hospital for several weeks but comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, died.
They were travelling in a limo bus when it was struck by the Wal-Mart truck.
Tracy Morgan, 45, suffered injuries including broken ribs, a broken nose, and a broken leg.
Tracy Morgan is improving but still critical after the multi-vehicle crash on a New Jersey highway on Saturday (photo Fox News)
Authorities said Kevin Roper apparently failed to slow for traffic and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his truck hit the back of the limo bus.
In all, six vehicles were involved in the accident, but no one from the other cars was injured.
In a statement released on Saturday, Wal-Mart president Bill Simon said the company would “take full responsibility” if authorities determined one of its trucks had caused the crash.
“We’re praying for the family and friends of the passenger who lost his life in the terrible accident,” the statement said.
The driver of Tracy Morgan’s vehicle, Tyrone Gale said he had been disorientated after his vehicle flipped over, and could hear the passengers in distress.
“I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help,” he told ABC News.
“I climbed up on the body of the limo bus … but I couldn’t reach them.”
Tracy Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. were also critically injured in the crash and remain in hospital.
Tracy Morgan was a series regular on Saturday Night Live for seven years and earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the sitcom 30 Rock.
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