The legal battle between Tracy Morgan and Walmart over a calamitous collision with a Walmart truck earlier this year is not going to be resolved amicably or soon, judging from latest legal maneuvers.
Walmart is blaming Morgan for his own injuries in the crash, claiming he was not wearing a seatbelt in the New Jersey Turnpike collision in June that killed one man and left the 30 Rock comedian/actor and others badly injured.
Morgan and others hurt in the crash are suing Walmart in federal court, accusing the corporate giant of negligence for allegedly allowing the truck driver to drive hundreds of miles while fatigued.
The collision is still under investigation by the Department of Transportation and Walmart isn’t answering that charge until it’s finished. The driver of the Walmart truck has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
But in court papers on Monday the company asserted, among other defenses, that Morgan’s injuries “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device,” according to The Hollywood Reporter and TMZ.
Therefore, the company says, the plaintiffs aren’t entitled to damages because they “failed to mitigate their losses.”
Morgan was a passenger in a limo bus involved in the six-car pile-up on June 7. He and three others were critically injured, and one fellow passenger, comedian James McNair, 62, was killed.
Morgan spent days in intensive care and weeks in rehab and still is not completely recovered. His lawyers say it may be months before he can fully walk again.