TRENTON, N.J. -- Tracy Morgan has sued Wal-Mart (WMT) over last month's highway crash that seriously injured him and killed a fellow comedian.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, contends that Wal-Mart was negligent when a driver of one of its tractor-trailers rammed into Morgan's limousine van. The complaint claims the retail giant should have known the driver had been awake for more than 24 hours, and that his commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable." It also alleges the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
"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," according to the complaint.
The June 7 wreck on the New Jersey Turnpike killed 62-year-old comedian James McNair, who went by the name Jimmy Mack. Comedian Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey and Krista Millea, who were injured as passengers in the limo, are also named as plaintiffs.
Morgan, the former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" star, suffered a broken leg and broken ribs in the crash and is in a rehabilitation center. Fuqua is recovering from crash-related injuries.
Truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., has pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law.
A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 miles an hour in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that stretch of the turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction.