Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has amicably settled the lawsuit filed by actor-comedian Tracy Morgan over a highway crash (that happened on Jun 7, 2014) that killed one man and left Morgan and two friends seriously injured.
The terms and conditions of the settlement with Morgan and the other plaintiffs remained confidential. However, Morgan’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said that he and Wal-Mart worked diligently to reach the settlement for the plaintiffs and their families.
In the incident, Wal-Mart’s truck driver, Kevin Roper crushed Morgan’s limousine bus on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan and his three friends James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea were returning from a stand-up comedy show at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware. The accident led to the death of the comedian, McNair. Morgan was hospitalized and had to undergo multiple surgeries. The other two also suffered several injuries.
Investigators found that Wal-Mart’s truck driver was speeding and hadn’t slept for at least 24 hours. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the truck driver was driving at 65 miles per hour (mph) in an area where the speed limit was 45 mph due to construction. He was charged with death by auto and assault.
Initially, Wal-Mart counter-claimed that the injuries were caused as Morgan and the other plaintiffs were not wearing their seatbelts. However, later, Wal-Mart agreed to resolve all of the remaining issues related to the accident. Wal-Mart reached a settlement with McNair’s two children in Jan 2015.
Wal-Mart has been involved in something or the other. In September, it had to pay a penalty of $66,000 for charging higher prices for The Coca-Cola Co. products than stated during promotions (read: Walmart to Pay Penalty for Overcharging Coca-Cola Products).
Wal-Mart has also been accused of labor disputes, breaching food safety measures, as well as bribery charges in the past. It was even accused of violating India’s Foreign Exchange Management Act regulations in relation to the company’s plan to set up stores in the country. Such allegations significantly impact the company’s reputation and severely hurt investor confidence.
Wal-Mart currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).