The semi-truck driver at the center of comedian Tracy Morgan’s lawsuit against Walmart filed an appeal of a decision by a New Jersey federal judge allowing Morgan’s suit to proceed against Walmart.
The driver, Kevin Roper, had asked the Court to stop Morgan’s lawsuit until the conclusion of a criminal proceeding against Roper in New Jersey state court, and the Court denied Roper’s motion, leading to this appeal.
Roper’s motion to stay the proceedings was initially denied because the Court did not believe Roper had established “he should be allowed to intervene” in the civil case. Morgan’s lawsuit was against Walmart and Walmart’s trucking business, not against Roper individually.
Roper is facing charges of manslaughter and assault by automobile in New Jersey or the 2014 crash, and he has pled not guilty to both. Roper argued the civil case could harm his criminal case because Walmart may file discovery responses and make admissions potentially contradictory to Roper’s criminal defenses strategy.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded Roper was traveling 65 mph in a 45 mph speed zone and had fallen asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident, causing him to rear-end a Mercedes van where Morgan was a passenger.
Roper had been driving the truck from a Walmart facility in Delaware, and had already traveled 700 miles in a personal car from his home in Georgia. Morgan alleges Walmart was aware of Roper’s bizarre commute and knew Roper was too exhausted to driver, yet allowed him to do so anyway.
For its part, Walmart has argued the crash victims were not wearing seat belts and were at least contributory to their injuries.
The appeal will now be decided by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
The Poppe Law Firm represents people all over the states of Kentucky and Indiana involved in serious car, truck, semi, and motorcycle wrecks. If you have suffered injury as the result of a semi-truck wreck, please do not hesitate to call us at (502) 895-3400 or to email us at http://www.poppelawfirm.com/contact.html.