Carlos Gamiño is an attorney in Wisconsin who prides himself on staying up-to-date on current legal events – including major lawsuits coming down the pipes.
Last month, comedian Tracy Morgan was in a deadly car crash – the limo bus he was traveling in was hit by a Walmart truck, killing comedian James McNair and injuring everyone else in the vehicle, including Morgan.
Now Morgan is suing Walmart, alleging that “as a result of Walmart’s gross, reckless, willful, wanton and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages.” Morgan’s legal team is also claiming that Walmart should’ve been aware that their driver, the man who caused the fatal accident, was awake for more than 24 hours and that the 700-mile drive he was doing was unreasonable.
Should Morgan be suing? And if he should, does he have any grounds?
While nobody can predict how a particular judge will rule, this will be an interesting case to watch. Walmart’s legal team is sure to put together a solid defense, and they do have some facts on their side. First, federal rules let truck drivers work up to 14 hours a day – and their driver had been working for about 13.5 hours that day.
On the other hand, the driver (who pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges in this case) was driving 65 miles per hour, according to federal transportation safety investigators. However, they were in a construction zone—where the speed limit is 45—when the accident occurred. The driver was going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and may or may not have “zoned out” on the road.
In my opinion, it’s pretty unlikely that Morgan is suing for the money. He’s a very successful comedian who’s worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 million. Sure, it could be for the money; it could also be for the publicity. Either way, the $446.95 billion company won’t feel the pain of a judgment in their bank accounts… just in their reputation for the way they treat workers. (It’s already spinning out of control on social media!)
What do you think? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your take.