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Comedian Tracy Morgan has filed a negligence lawsuit against Walmart, claiming the retailer is responsible for last month's truck crash that injured Morgan and killed another comedian.
Morgan's lawsuit claims Walmart Stores and its subsidiary, Walmart Transportation, should have known big rig driver Kevin Roper was on too little sleep when he crashed into the tour bus carrying Morgan and his entourage, reports The New York Times.
What are the facts behind this crash, and what will Morgan need to prove in court in order to prevail?
On the night in question, Morgan, his assistant, and several other comedians -- including Ardley "Ardie" Fuqua Jr. and James McNair -- were returning to New York City after performing at a comedy show in Delaware. The tour bus they were riding in was rammed by a Walmart truck, causing the bus to flip over.
McNair was killed in the crash. Morgan, his assistant Jeffrey Millea, and Fuqua all suffered injuries but survived. The three survivors are all plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Walmart.
According to the suit, Walmart should have known that Roper was operating on dangerously little sleep after driving from his home in Georgia to a Walmart distribution hub in Delaware.
To prevail in his suit, Morgan will need to prove that Walmart had a duty to make sure its drivers were safely operating the company's trucks. He'll then need to prove that this duty was violated when it allowed Roper to continue driving, and that this alleged breach of the company's duty was a contributing factor in causing Morgan's injuries.
The lawsuit against Walmart also includes Millea's wife as a plaintiff. She was eight months pregnant at the time of the accident, and is seeking compensation for loss of consortium with her husband following his injures.
Loss of consortium compensates family members of victims for the loss of services and companionship of a family member or spouse. For spouses, this can include the loss of sexual relations.
In a statement, Walmart didn't comment on Morgan's lawsuit but said the company "is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation." Truck driver Kevin Roper has pleaded not guilty to a charge of vehicular homicide, the Times reports.
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