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Judge rejects bid to delay Tracy Morgan lawsuit

2014-12-15 14:46

Newark - Tracy Morgan has won the latest round in his effort to sue Wal-Mart and others over a fatal crash in New Jersey.

A federal judge on Friday refused to delay the lawsuit. The ruling came on a motion by Kevin Roper, the driver of the Wal-Mart truck authorities say slammed into the back of Morgan's limo van on the New Jersey Turnpike in June.

Roper, of Georgia, isn't named as a defendant but is facing criminal charges. He wanted the suit delayed until his criminal case was resolved.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp, though, said Roper failed to show he requires "emergent relief."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had argued that Arkansas-based Wal-Mart was using Roper's motion to stall the suit because it wanted to avoid disclosing safety practices.

A message was left Friday evening for Roper's lawyer. A call to Wal-Mart seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Wal-Mart has previously denied claims that it was trying to stall the suit brought by the former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star, who was returning from a performance in Delaware when the accident occurred.

Fellow comedian James McNair was killed in the crash, while Morgan and two others were seriously injured.

Morgan's attorney, Benedict Morelli, has said Morgan is fighting to recover from a traumatic brain injury suffered in the crash and is uncertain if he will be "the Tracy Morgan he once was."

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board said Roper was driving 65 mph (105 kph) in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the van. The speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike is 55 mph (89 kph) and was lowered to 45 mph (72 kph) that night because of construction.

Read more on:    tracy morgan  |  celebrities  |  movies

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