It appears that the litigation involving Tracy Morgan and Wal-Mart Stores has now come to an end. A lawsuit filed by two insurers sought to avoid covering the retailer’s multi-million-dollar payout to Tracy Morgan for injuries he suffered in a 2014 crash involving one of the retailer’s trucks. That lawsuit has now been settled.
U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in Trenton, New Jersey, has ordered the dismissal of all claims against Wal-Mart by Ohio Casualty Insurance and Liberty Insurance Underwriters, as well as all counterclaims by Wal-Mart against the insurers. Terms of the settlement are confidential. Both sides agreed this settlement was the end of the matter.
The settlement came two and a half months after the insurers, both affiliated with Liberty Mutual Group, had sought permission to question Morgan and another injured passenger, Ardley Fuqua, to help them determine whether Wal-Mart had paid too much in its settlement with the parties.
Morgan, a former star of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” was seriously injured on June 7, 2014, when a Wal-Mart truck crashed into his limousine van on the New Jersey Turnpike. His friend, comedian James McNair, was killed in the crash, and other passengers in the vehicle also suffered injuries. The truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours when the crash occurred. He pleaded guilty last November to vehicular homicide under a plea agreement that let him avoid prison time.
The amounts paid by Wal-Mart to Morgan and Fuqua have not been disclosed, but court documents suggest that the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer might have paid more than $90 million. That was based on a reported $10 million settlement that Wal-Mart reached in early 2015 with McNair’s children, and subsequent court filings saying that more than 90 percent of Wal-Mart’s total settlement were for Morgan’s and Fuqua’s claims. Morgan, who suffered a broken leg and ribs and what his lawyer has called a “traumatic brain injury” in the crash, has since returned to performing.