AMC Says ‘The Walking Dead’ Stuntman Death “Tragic” But Not Its Fault As Judge Sets Trial Start Date

A federal judge in Georgia ruled that the wrongful death case brought by the family of The Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker against AMC will go forward to trial.

Bernecker died in July 2017, two days after suffering massive head injuries in a fall of more than 20 feet from a balcony to a concrete floor while rehearsing a fight scene with an actor on the Georgia-based set of AMC’s flagship series. An airbag had been placed below him, but he missed it, striking his head on the ground.

Judge Emily Brantley earlier this week denied a summary judgment motion by AMC and set the trial to start December 9 in Gwinnett County, GA. Brantley also denied the defendant’s request to exclude testimony by a stunt expert in the case. (Read the ruling here.)

“This was a tragic accident,” an AMC spokesperson said in a statement after Brantley’s ruling. “While we continue to believe our motions for summary judgment were appropriate and supported by the facts in this case and the law, we respect the Court’s decision – without making any determination on the merits of either side’s arguments – to allow the case to proceed.”

The lawsuit was filed in January 2018 after Bernecker’s mother promised to “seek justice” with a wrongful-death lawsuit. It blamed AMC for allegedly doing things on the cheap. “The production of Season 8 of The Walking Dead, like seasons before it, had an emphasis on keeping production budgets low and profits high,” the filing asserted.

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