During the early morning of June 7, comedians Tracy Morgan, James McNair and Ardley Fuqua and passenger Jeffrey Millea were travelling home from a show when a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer plowed into their limo. Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua and Mr. Millea suffered serious injuries. Mr. McNair — known as Jimmy Mack — was killed in the crash.
More than a month after the 18-wheeler accident, Mr. Morgan was finally released from the hospital and continues to receive aggressive outpatient physical therapy and home care. The beloved entertainer also announced that he and the other injured performers are suing Wal-Mart for negligence.
Investigators found that Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper commuted 700 miles from his Georgia home to the company’s Delaware distribution center and that he had been awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the deadly wreck. In addition, Mr. Roper’s speed may have been a contributing factor. Prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Roper for his vehicular homicide, meaning they believe enough evidence exists to consider him criminally responsible for Mr. McNair’s death.
The giant retailer may also have acted negligently because:
The 11-hour commute from Georgia to Delaware was unreasonable and the company could have asked the driver to report to a distribution center closer to his home.
The driver violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service (HoS) rules that set maximum driving and minimum break and off-duty times.
The driver fell asleep at the wheel moments before the crash.
The driver was travelling at 20 mph over the speed limit at the time of the accident.
Mr. Morgan’s lawsuit claims:
"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."
Often, corporations are responsible for the actions of their employees who are acting in the scope of their employment.