TV funnyman Tracy Morgan is suing U.S. retail giant Walmart following the car crash last month (Jun14) that left him in intensive care. Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper is accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing a multi-vehicle accident when he slammed into the back of Morgan's limousine in New Jersey, killing Morgan's colleague James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair and hospitalising several others.
The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey on Thursday (10Jul14), alleges the company should have known Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his drive from Georgia, where he lives, to work in Delaware was "unreasonable".
The suit reads, "Wal-Mart was careless and negligent in the ownership and operation of its motor vehicle, which caused Mr. Morgan to suffer severe personal injuries. As a direct and proximate result of said collision, Mr. Morgan was caused to sustain severe painful bodily injuries, including but not limited to multiple fractures which required multiple surgeries, extensive medical treatment and will require significant physical rehabilitation."
The plaintiffs, which also include Morgan's assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua, who were also injured in the crash, are seeking damages, legal fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest.
The 30 Rock star was moved to a rehabilitation facility last month (Jun14) after his condition was upgraded from critical to fair.
Roper has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
The truck driver deemed responsible for a New Jersey traffic pile-up that put funnyman Tracy Morgan in the hospital and claimed the life of his comedian pal James 'jimmy Mack' Mcnair was speeding prior to the collision, according to U.S. transportation officials. Kevin Roper, a driver for U.S. superstore Wal-Mart, stands accused of falling asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle after ploughing into the back of a limo bus carrying Morgan and his companions early on 7 June (14).
The impact of the collision killed McNair and left Morgan and two others with serious injuries.
Roper pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto during a court hearing last week (11Jun14), but now a preliminary report released by officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggests the suspect had ignored speed limit signs to slow down on the New Jersey Turnpike due to construction.
Officials claim he had been driving at 65 miles (104 kilometres)-per-hour, instead of the advised 45 miles (72 kilometres)-per-hour moments before the crash. The regular speed limit on the highway is 55 miles (88 kilometres)-per-hour.
Prosecutors have also accused Roper of sleep deprivation, claiming he had been awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the fatal incident. He faces up to 10 years behind bars if authorities can prove he ignored sleep guidelines for a trucker.
Morgan remains hospitalised, but his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair.
TV bosses behind Tracy Morgan's upcoming comedy series have vowed to put the project on hold until the actor is well enough to return to work after an horrific car crash left him in a critical condition. The former 30 Rock star remains in intensive care after the limo bus he was travelling in on Saturday (07Jun14) was rear-ended by a truck, killing his comedy writer friend James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair, and leaving four others, including Morgan, injured.
Morgan had been due to begin shooting the as-yet-untitled scripted series for America's FXX network in August (14), but he is now facing a long recovery period as he continues to receive treatment for a number of ailments, including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs.
Producers have now issued a statement pledging their support to Morgan.
The press release reads: "The only thing we are concerned with is the health and recovery of Tracy Morgan and the victims of this tragic accident.
"We will support Tracy and his family in every way possible throughout his recovery. At the point when Tracy has recovered and decides that he is ready to go back to work, his show will be waiting for him. Right now our thoughts and prayers remain with Tracy, the other victims of the accident, and their families."
The new show has been written by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton.
Truck driver Kevin Roper has since been charged with one count of death by auto and four of assault by auto. Prosecutors claim Roper, a driver for U.S. superstore Wal-Mart, had not slept in more than 24 hours prior to the fatal accident.
A representative for Tracy Morgan has dismissed reports suggesting the comedian has had his leg amputated as a result of injuries sustained in an horrific car crash on Saturday (07Jun14). The 30 Rock star was admitted to an intensive care hospital unit in New Jersey after the limo bus he was travelling in was rear-ended by a truck, causing the luxury vehicle to flip over.
He suffered a number of injuries, including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs, and he underwent surgery on his femur on Sunday (08Jun14).
His spokeswoman has since issued another statement to TMZ.com to clear up false speculation suggesting the operation was an amputation, insisting, "Rumors about his leg are completely fabricated."
She adds, "This recovery will be arduous and we hope that you can be patient during this difficult time."
Morgan was said to be "more responsive" following Sunday's surgery, however, he remains in a critical but stable condition.
Morgan's comedy writer friend James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair was killed in the crash, while his assistant Jeff Millea and fellow funnyman Ardie Fuqua were also hospitalised in critical condition.
Truck driver Kevin Roper has since been charged with one count of death by auto and four of assault by auto. He is currently free on $50,000 (£31,250) bail and is due in court to face the charges on Wednesday (11Jun14).
Prosecutors claim Roper, a driver for U.S. superstore Wal-Mart, had not slept in more than 24 hours prior to the fatal accident.
The truck driver charged in the deadly car crash which left comedian Tracy Morgan fighting for his life had not slept in more than 24 hours at the time of Saturday's (07Jun14) horrific accident, according to prosecutors. Kevin Roper, a 35-year-old driver for U.S. superstore Wal-Mart, has been charged with one count of death by auto and four of assault by auto after allegedly rear-ending the limo bus Morgan had been travelling in.
Four other cars were also caught up in the New Jersey pile-up, which killed Morgan's comedy writer friend James 'Jimmy Mack' McNair. The 30 Rock star was left in a critical condition after suffering injuries including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs, while his assistant Jeff Millea and fellow funnyman Ardie Fuqua were also hospitalised.
Authorities have since revealed Georgia resident Roper had been driving "without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours".
A criminal complaint obtained by People.com reveals Roper had apparently failed to slow for traffic as he drove down the New Jersey Turnpike, and had to swerve at the last-minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his truck collided into the back of Morgan's limo bus.
Roper, who is currently free on $50,000 (£31,250) bail, is due in court to face the charges on Wednesday (11Jun14).
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart president and CEO Bill Simon has vowed to take full responsibility for the crash, calling road safety "our absolute highest priority."
In a statement issued on Saturday (07Jun14), he added, "This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. We are working quickly to understand what happened and are cooperating fully with law enforcement to aid their investigation."
Morgan remains in intensive care after undergoing surgery on his broken leg on Sunday (08Jun14), when his representative described his condition as being "more responsive".
"Sorry if my snoring bothered you."
Those are not the first words I'd expect out of the mouth of someone who got up on a Friday morning to catch the 10:30 AM screening of a new movie but that is more or less what the fellow who'd been sitting behind me said as I passed him on my way out. I'd heard him snoring over the constant rat-a-tat-tat of bullets and butt-kicking being doled out by Milla Jovovich et al in this latest iteration of the never-ending Resident Evil series (this time in IMAX 3D) but I figured maybe I was hearing things. Nope he was asleep.
I used to play Resident Evil on my ancient PlayStation when it first came out. It scared the crap out of me. I enjoyed the first two movies — hey they included the skinless zombie dogs! — but I lost interest soon after that. How many times can you make the zombie apocalypse exciting? How many different skintight outfits can Jovovich wear while killing grotesque creatures who shoot evil grasping tentacles out of their mouths? Why should we care about all the blood and guts when we know the people we're supposed to be emotionally invested in will never die? We don't.
Try as he might there are only so many ways for writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to give the Resident Evil series fresh new layers for each new movie. The Umbrella Corporation is the big bad. They were playing with biological weapons and somehow there was an accident that let one of the viruses loose... and boom you've got a zombie apocalypse on your hands. Our heroine is Alice played by Milla Jovovich and there is a rotating cast of characters who help her fight the good fight against the hordes of brain-eaters and whatever is left of the Umbrella Corporation that's now after her. There are some parallels to the video game series but Paul W.S. Anderson (a gamer himself) has taken lots of liberties with the basic plot over the years. While Anderson's flashy style is especially suited to these types of movies there's not enough plot to make it work.
We don't go to video game movies for plot of course but there has to be something to hold onto; otherwise why would we care if our protagonist were in danger? Anderson tries some neat tricks to snap us back to attention like bringing back characters that were killed in previous movies and throwing in a cloning subplot that calls into question some of the characters' true identities but it's still hard to get worked up about anything onscreen. However it ultimately sidesteps any deeper ideas that might take our attention away from all the guns. And there are so many guns and explosions and elegant butt-kickings doled out by Milla and her pals (or former pals in the case of Michelle Rodriguez's character Rain) that they blend together.
It is especially difficult to work up any interest in the story because it's a franchise and no matter how many times the stars or director might say they're not that interested in doing another everyone is just waiting to see how much money this will make before deciding to go forward. There is no question how franchise movies will end; there will be no derring-do on the part of the writer or director to actually kill off a beloved character permanently. At one point it seemed like Anderson was going to pull the old "And then she woke up!" trick which would have been bold both because it's such a hackneyed idea that it would make writing professors' heads explode all over the world but also because it would have required Anderson to play in a different universe and expand his repertoire a bit. Alas like Alice and Anderson himself we just can't seem to escape this rabbit hole.
Top Story: Gigli Gets Razzed!
Believe it or not, the Oscars weren't the only awards show to take place over the weekend. The Razzie Awards, which "honor" the worst films of the year, were handed out Saturday night in a conference room at a Sheraton hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. While The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Academy Awards, the 24th annual Razzies were hijacked by a cinematic fiasco called Gigli. The drama took home the Golden Raspberry for worst film of the year, while its stars, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, won worst actor and actress as well as worst screen couple. Gigli's Martin Brest received the worst director and screenwriter honors. Despite Gigli's six accolades, the film won't go down in history for the most Razzies; that honor still belongs to Showgirls and Battlefield Earth, which have seven each. Worst supporting actor and actress trophies went to Sylvester Stallone for his performance in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and Demi Moore for her role in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, which was also named worst sequel. Mike Myers' Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat won the newest category, "worst excuse for an actual movie."
Kevin Costner Defends Mel Gibson
Director/actor Kevin Costner told the syndicated entertainment TV show Access Hollywood that people should not attack Mel Gibson for his film The Passion of the Christ. "We shouldn't be attacking a filmmaker like Mel Gibson who, number one, is an honorable filmmaker ... and probably questioned himself more than anybody even knows. So leave him alone," Costner, 49, said. The film, which depicts the final hours and crucifixion of Christ, has been criticized for implying Jews were collectively responsible for Christ's death. It took in $76.2 million over the weekend and posted a five-day total of $117.5 million since its Wednesday opening, making it the biggest February opener ever.
Masked Jackson Alarms Wal-Mart Staff
Perhaps shopping with a ski mask on is not the wisest thing. According to Reuters, Wal-Mart employees in Glenwood Springs, Colo., became concerned last Tuesday when they spotted a shopper with a ski mask covering his face and promptly alerted police, who then stopped the masked man in his vehicle just a few blocks away. But when an officer asked the man and his driver for identification, off came the ski mask--to reveal none other than embattled pop star Michael Jackson. Turns out Jackson, who is vacationing at a ranch near Old Snowmass in the Aspen area, was simply shopping incognito. Police let the singer go without incident.
Sofia Coppola Sweeps Indie Awards
Sofia Coppola, who took home an Oscar Sunday night for best original screenplay for Lost in Translation, won directing and screenplay honors for that quirky comedy Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards, while star Bill Murray was named best actor. The best actress award went to Charlize Theron for Monster, which also received the best first feature prize for director Patty Jenkins; supporting actor honor went to Djimon Hounsou for In America; supporting actress prize went to Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog; best debut performance went to Nikki Reed for Thirteen; best foreign film went to Whale Rider; best documentary went to The Fog of War; and the best cinematography prize was awarded to Declan Quinn for In America. The best first screenplay was given to Tom McCarthy for The Station Agent, which also won the best film shot for under $500,000.
Judge Dismisses Stewart Securities Fraud Count
Martha Stewart, who is accused of staging a stock tip cover-up with her former Merrill Lynch & Co. broker, Peter Bacanovic, scored a major victory Friday when U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum dismissed the most serious count of securities fraud on grounds the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence. Stewart now faces one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings. Each count carries a possible prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. Closing arguments began today, Reuters reports, and are expected to last through Tuesday, with jury deliberations likely to begin on Wednesday.
Some Charges Dropped in R. Kelly Case
In what they described as a routine pretrial move, prosecutors in Chicago dropped seven of the 21 charges in R&B singer R. Kelly's child pornography case. According to Billboard.com, the seven counts dropped involved charges of soliciting a minor to appear in child pornography. Kelly, whose "R." stands for Robert, pleaded innocent to the remaining 14 counts of child pornography. The next hearing is April 2 but no trial date has been set. The 34-year-old singer, whose hits include "I Believe I Can Fly," was arrested in June 2002 after videotape surfaced allegedly showing him having sex with an underage girl.
MTV Sponsors Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour
Music cabler MTV has rolled out its first global tour sponsorship. MTV Presents Britney Spears Onyx Hotel Tour 2004 kicks off March 2 at the San Die
The Associated Press reports Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson has signed a development deal with Universal Television on Wednesday for a syndicated U.S. talk show. "I'm not talent, I'm not a celebrity, I'm not an actress, I am just me," the former British royal told AP. "I love being with people, whether they're famous or not." The show, to be called Fergie, is slated to premiere in September 2003.
Dustin Hoffman is returning to Vegas--but not as an autistic card-counting whiz. He'll be receiving the first Marquee Award from the fourth annual CineVegas International Film Festival on Saturday. But the whole gambling thing won't be totally lost on Hoffman--he is also participating in a celebrity blackjack tournament fundraiser, along with fellow actors James Woods, Kevin Pollak, Joe Pesci and Chazz Palminteri. All those guys seem like they'd be into playing cards, don't they?
Sixteen never seemed so sweet. Power twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen turned 16 this week--and are further expanding their billion-dollar empire. Along with the merchandising of their videos, games, dolls, cosmetics, books and clothing for the "tween" (8-12) age group, they are now adding a new line of apparel for teens at Wal-Mart Inc., among several other things. Can't wait to see what they're up to at 30.
Speaking of kids growing up fast, Alias' Jennifer Garner is in negotiations to star in Revolutions Studios' 13 Going on 30, which would earn her a cool $3 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Described as a female Big, the film is about a 13-year-old who wishes she were popular. At her birthday party, she spends a humiliating seven minutes in a closet, and when she emerges, she finds herself five days shy of her 30th birthday--beautiful and very popular.
The 77-year-old Charlton Heston is reprising his role as the chariot-fighting Ben-Hur--but only in voice-over. He has provided the voice for the character in a new animated version of Ben-Hur, being released on video this fall by GoodTimes Home Entertainment.
Prince William as an actor? Not if the royal family has a say in the matter. In an upcoming The Simpsons episode, the family travels to London, where Bart strikes up a friendship with the prince. William wanted to lend his own voice to the animated character, but Buckingham Palace flatly refused, Sky News reports. Ah, no worries, Wills, at least you can still watch the show.
Bono, who's lately been busy trying to help the Third World out of debt, and U2 topped Rolling Stone magazine's list as the top-earning band of last year. The Irish rockers took in an estimated $61.9 million from touring, recording and publishing. Following them on the list were rap mogul Dr. Dre, The Beatles, the Dave Matthews Band and Madonna.
Famed fashion designer Bill Blass, whose elegant designs were worn by the likes of former first lady Nancy Reagan and newswoman Barbara Walters, died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Washington, Conn., the AP reports. He was 79.