Federal judge denies driver’s request to stall lawsuit
February 23, 2015
The truck driver who was involved in the fatal Tracy Morgan crash that happened on the New Jersey Turnpike recently filed a motion requesting that the federal judge hearing the case against Wal-Mart halt it. The man’s request was denied, and he is apparently requesting the judge reconsider her decision.
In addition to the federal civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart, the man is currently facing state criminal charges in Middlesex County for the incident. His lawyer is claiming that if the civil case continues proceeding simultaneously with the criminal one, the man’s constitutional rights to a fair criminal trial could be in jeopardy. The man is not named in the civil suit as a defendant. He is apparently concerned that discoveries in the civil case may elicit information that could harm him in his criminal proceeding.
The judge indicated that if the truck driver is concerned about particular items of requested discovery, he can alert the court of his concerns at that time. His attorney indicates that a major concern is if Wal-Mart admits to the truck driver’s actions prior to the completion of his criminal case, as that could negatively impact his potential for obtaining a fair and impartial jury due to the attendant publicity.
The case against Wal-Mart hinges largely on allegations the company knew the man was driving excess hours in violation of federal regulations. Morgan is still recovering from the serious personal injuries he suffered in the accident. The case demonstrates that a truck driver’s employer may be named as a defendant in a personal injury civil lawsuit, just as Wal-Mart was in this case. People who are seriously injured in truck accidents due to the negligent actions of the truck driver may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. An attorney may be able to provide assistance with litigating the case on his or her client’s behalf.
Source: NJ.com, “Driver in Tracy Morgan Wal-Mart crash asks judge to reconsider decision on civil lawsuit,” Thomas Zambito, Feb. 17, 2015