Video After The Jump
Walmart is claiming that Tracy Morgan and the passengers in his limo bus weren't wearing seat belts when their company big rig slammed into them. The company says the resulting injuries were caused "in whole or in part" by their "failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device."
Walmart made the claims in a federal court filing on Monday, September, 29, in a response to Morgan's lawsuit against them.
The comedian/actor suffered a broken nose, broken ribs and a broken leg in the June 7, 2014 crash on the New Jersey turnpike. His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed.
Three other passengers, Jeffrey and Krista Millea and Ardley Fuqua were also injured.
An attorney representing Morgan and the other plaintiffs called Walmart's contentions "surprising and appalling."
"It's disingenuous," attorney Benedict Morelli said. "It's not what they said they were going to do initially, which was take full responsibility. I'm very upset, not for myself but for the families I represent."
Kevin Roper was driving the Walmart big rig at the time of the wreck. The impact of the crash overturned Morgan's limo bus.
Roper was reportedly going 20 miles over the speed limit. He was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. He pleaded not guilty on June 11, during an arraignment in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Morgan wants a jury trial. He is seeking punitive and compensatory damages