A jury in the state of Georgia has awarded the family of The Walking Dead stuntman with $8.6 million following his accidental death in 2017. John Bernecker, 33, passed away in 2017 following an accident on set.
The Daily Report claims the verdict came at the conclusion of a one-week trial, after which jurors started their deliberations and served the verdict shortly before 6:00 pm on Tuesday. Lawyers on the behalf of AMC in addition to the production company, Stalwart Films, argued neither company could be held liable for Bernecker’s death.
The attornies for the plaintiffs argued they could not be held responsible for Bernecker’s passing after he fell from a balcony during a staged fight. A landing pad was set up for Mr. Bernecker 25 feet from the balcony, however, he missed it and fell to his death.
Lawyers argued AMC and the production company were not negligent. Susan and Hagen Bernecker sued the network and Stalwart, arguing both parties didn’t utilize proper safety procedures due to scheduling and financial set-backs.
Jeffrey Harris, the complainant’s attorney, described the 33-year-old man as a “remarkably talented stunt professional” who had a promising future in the industry. The statement went on to say that the death was preventable, and could’ve been avoided through the proper use of safety and preventative measures.
Harris hoped the verdict of the case would encourage companies to implement proper safety measures. Furthermore, the statement read that the situation was a lose-lose for everybody involved, including the companies, the victim and his family.
This wouldn’t be the first time someone died on set. Back in October of 2017, CNN reported the death of a female stuntperson who crashed on the set of Deadpool 2. SJ Harris, from New York City, passed away on her motorcycle in Vancouver, British Colombia.
WorkSafeBC, the organization that looks at occupational safety in the area, in addition to the Coroner’s Service office, looked into the incident. According to a report from Movie Web, it was later determined that a lack of safety measures contributed to her death.