Deceased ‘Walking Dead’ Stuntman’s Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The Walking Dead is facing yet another legal challenge. Apart from repeated profit-sharing lawsuits from showrunners past and present, AMC has now been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of late stuntman John Bernecker, who died from an accident during production in 2017.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 33-year old Bernecker’s mother Susan filed suit in Gwinnett County State Court with claims that the network “orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing The Walking Dead cheaply and, ultimately, unsafely.” The accident took place in July of 2017, during which John Bernecker filmed a balcony fall stunt with actor Austin Amelio, but subsequently grabbed a railing and fell twenty-two feet, missing the large network of pads and boxes. Amelio subsequently told investigating officers that Bernecker appeared nervous and expressed inexperience with falls of that height.
Bernecker’s mother alleges that AMC pressured production company Stalwart Films to keep budgets unreasonably low, thus encouraging inadequate safety measures. The lawsuit pushes for jury trial to obtain both punitive and compensatory damages, as well as fees for Bernecker’s attorney, Jeff Harris. Harris also represented the family of Sarah Jones, camera assistant to Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, who was killed in a production accident on a Georgia railroad trestle.
AMC stated of the lawsuit that “We take the safety of our employees on all of our sets extremely seriously, and meet or exceed industry safety standards,” before offering “thoughts and prayers.” Word of Bernecker’s legal action arrives hours after AMC requested to halt ex-showrunner Frank Darabont’s second lawsuit, for which Darabont and agency CAA are pursuing sanctions.
The Walking Dead is otherwise renewed for Season 9, and will begin the latter half of Season 8 in February. Stay tuned for the latest.
Gallery: The Worst ‘Walking Dead’ Death Scenes, Ranked