Tracy Morgan Speaks Out: I Did Nothing Wrong
Walmart claims that any injuries sustained could have been avoided if Morgan and fellow passengers were wearing seatbelts
Morgan has issued a statement on Walmart’s position, including their claim that some of the injuries sustained could have been prevented with seatbelts.
“After I heard what Walmart said in court I felt I had to speak out. I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused,” Morgan said. “My friends and I were doing nothing wrong. I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time. I love you all. I’m fighting hard every day to get back.”
Morgan – along with his assistant Jeffrey Millea, his wife Krista Millea, and comedian Ardie Fuqua – filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against the retail giant in July. The lawsuit states that Walmart had its driver working under “unreasonable” conditions – it claims the driver had been awake for over 24 hours and that he fell asleep at the wheel, which caused the collision.
“As a result of Walmart’s gross, reckless, willful, wanton, and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages,” stated the complaint.
Walmart filed a response to Morgan’s lawsuit on Monday, denying culpability for the accident.
“Walmart filed its official response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit earlier today, and the company continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter,” senior director Brooke Buchanan told PEOPLE in a statement.
According to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE, the company states that Morgan’s complaint “fails to set forth any facts which are sufficient to support a direct and/or vicarious claim of negligence as to Walmart.” It also states that “the damages about which plaintiffs complain were not proximately caused by any authorized actions by Walmart and/or its employees, agents, servants or representatives.”
Furthermore, it alleges that any injuries that were sustained during the crash “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device.”
Walmart is now requesting a written statement specifying the amount of damages alleged in the complaint, and is demanding a trial by jury.
Morgan, 45, has been struggling since coming out of rehab in mid-July. His lawyer, Benedict P. Morelli, told PEOPLE last month that the comedian was “really having a tough time with his recovery.
Morgan’s rep did not respond to a request for comment.
• Reporting by ELIZABETH LEONARD