Comedian Tracy Morgan is still recovering from the broken leg and broken ribs he sustained when a Wal-Mart truck crashed into his limousine van on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Mr. Morgan filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for negligent conduct, according to the Huffington Post. Mr. Morgan's lawyer is seeking a jury trial, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Comedian Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea, also passengers in the van, suffered serious injuries. They are also named as plaintiffs in the suit. Fellow comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair was killed in the wreck.
Wal-Mart appears to have acted negligently in this situation. Why? Because the truck driver's commute from Georgia to Delaware was almost 700 miles and the company knew, or should have known, that its driver had been awake for over 24 hours. Whether Wal-Mart is ultimately held accountable will be determined by how Mr. Morgan's lawsuit progresses.
The Wal-Mart truck driver pled not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges. However, the driver was on the job for about 13 hours at the time of the crash, a violation of the federal maximum of 11 hours that a commercial truck driver can be behind the wheel of such a large vehicle.
Wal-Mart says that it is "cooperating fully" with the ongoing investigation of the accident, but the appearance of good will should be taken with a grain of salt. The company has a history of circumventing the civil justice system and lobbying Congress to limit the rights of everyday citizens to seek redress through civil courts.
Many top Wal-Mart executives are in bed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization devoted to limiting your rights and putting up as many barrier to the courthouse as possible. For exampple, a top Wal-Mart executive has sat on the board of directors of the Chamber for almost 10 years. The company tried to use its clout to push for measures limiting a company's liability for its subsidiaries' actions. In summation, Wal-Mart's actions are laden with hypocrisy.
We sincerely hope Mr. Morgan, and the other plaintiffs involved in the suit, are fully compensated for their injuries and long road to recovery they will likely have to travel.