Attorneys are due to meet in federal court in actor-comedian Tracy Morgan's lawsuit against Wal-Mart over a fatal auto accident in New Jersey last summer.
A Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo van that was carrying Morgan and several friends on the New Jersey Turnpike on their way from a show in Delaware. Comedian James McNair, a friend of Morgan's, was killed. Morgan suffered a broken leg and broken ribs and spent several weeks in the hospital and in rehab. Three others were injured, two seriously.
Morgan sued for punitive and compensatory damages. In a response to the lawsuit filed in late September, Wal-Mart contended the victims' injuries were partly due to the fact that they weren't wearing seatbelts.
Truck driver Kevin Roper, who is not named in Morgan's lawsuit, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in state court. Last Friday, he filed to have Morgan's lawsuit delayed while that case proceeds. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for mid-December.
A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board released in June said Roper was driving 65 mph in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the van. The speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction.
A scheduling conference is to be held Tuesday in federal court in Trenton.