Published Jan 24, 2018The mother of a stuntman who fell to his death on the set of AMC's The Walking Dead has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the network and other parties, alleging that low budgets led to corners being cut on safety precautions.
Veteran stunt performer John Bernecker died from injuries sustained after falling 20 feet to a concrete floor on the show's set last July. He was 33.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday (January 23) by Susan Bernecker in Gwinnett County State Court in Georgia alleges that AMC Networks Inc. "orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing The Walking Dead cheaply and, ultimately, unsafely," pressuring production company Stalwart Films to keep budgets and costs unreasonably low at the expense of safety measures.
The lawsuit also names the director and stunt co-ordinator for the episode that was being shot, in addition to an actor who was shooting a scene with Bernecker, among others.
In a statement emailed to the Associated Press, AMC wrote, "We take the safety of our employees on all of our sets extremely seriously, and meet or exceed industry safety standards," adding that its "thoughts and prayers" are with Bernecker and his family.
"My goal is to do everything I can to protect other stunt performers and to ensure their safety on the set in the future," Susan Bernecker said in a press release. "The industry is not doing enough to maintain basic safety guidelines for these performers. Worst of all, they're scared to speak up."
Bernecker's lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks punitive and compensatory damages, in addition to attorney fees.