The motion to delay the lawsuit came from Kevin Roper, the driver of the Walmart truck police said crashed into the back of Morgan’s limo van on the New Jersey Turnpike in June.READ MORE: TIMELINE: Nor'easter Could Bring More Than A Foot Of Snow To Long Island & Jersey Shore; Up To 8 Inches To NYC
Roper, of Georgia, isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit but is facing criminal charges in the case. He wanted the lawsuit delayed until his criminal case was resolved.
However, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp said Roper failed to show he requires “emergent relief.”
David Glassman, Roper’s attorney, said his client’s criminal case could be tainted by the civil case if it’s allowed to move forward first. He said Roper will, in effect, be on trial in the civil case since he was driving the truck.
There is still a motion pending that seeks to allow Roper to enter the lawsuit so that he can have a chance to defend himself, Glassman said.
Attorneys for Morgan had said Walmart was using Roper’s motion to stall the suit because it wanted to avoid disclosing safety practices.
A call to Walmart seeking comment was not immediately returned.
The company has previously denied claims that it was trying to stall the suit brought by Morgan, who was returning from a performance in Delaware when the accident happened.
Morgan’s friend James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, 62, of Peekskill, died in the crash.
Two other passengers, Ardie Fuqua Jr. and Jeffrey Millea, were critically injured. Comedian Harris Stanton suffered a broken wrist.READ MORE: Nor'easter Triggers Blizzard Warning In Suffolk County, As New York Braces For Widespread Snowfall
A lawyer for Morgan said in November that the “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash.
Attorney Benedict Morelli said it is uncertain if he will be “the Tracy Morgan he once was.”
Besides the brain injury, Morgan suffered a broken leg, nose and ribs. Morgan spent weeks in a hospital and rehab after the accident.
According to a preliminary probe by the National Transportation Safety Board, Roper was going 65 miles per hour in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the van.
The speed limit on that stretch of the Turnpike is 55 miles per hour and was lowered to 45 miles per hour that night because of construction.
Roper, 35, faces one count of second-degree vehicular homicide and four counts of fourth-degree assault by auto.
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