Morgan’s lawsuit stems from a June 7 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that severely injured him and two others as well as killed comedian James McNair. The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary investigation found that Roper was driving 65 mph in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the van.
On the night of the night of the crash, the speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike was lowered from 55 mph to 45 mph because of construction. Although Roper faces various criminal charges for the incident in state court, which include death by auto, he has not been indicted at this time.
On Tuesday (Feb. 3), U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp ruled against Roper and allowed Morgan’s lawsuit to proceed, according to the Associated Press, which noted that Shipp wrote in his ruling that a delay would unfairly affect the parties in Morgan’s suit. In addition, Judge Shipp pointed out that Roper didn’t cite relevant case law to back up his claims nor did he give specific examples regarding how he would be adversely affected.
Despite not being a defendant in Morgan’s federal lawsuit, Roper wanted to put himself in the suit in an effort to delay Morgan’s suit from moving forward until his criminal case was resolved. Roper argued that his right to a fair trial would be hampered and, as a result, he would, in effect, be on trial in the civil case even though he wasn’t a defendant. In addition, Roper claimed prosecutors in the criminal case would benefit from any information that was divulged.
Despite ruling against Roper, the AP mentioned that Shipp did give the Jonesboro, Ga. man the option to file another motion if information or materials are requested from him for the lawsuit while his criminal case is unresolved.
Regarding McNair, Wal-Mart reached a monetary settlement with the funnyman’s two kids two weeks ago, the AP stated. Details surrounding the amount of the settlement were not disclosed.