A Georgia jury has awarded $8.6 million to the estate of a stuntman who died while rehearsing a scene for “The Walking Dead,” according to a new report.
AMC, the network that produces and airs the show, was found not negligent, per Deadline.
John Bernecker died in July 2017 after falling 22 feet onto concrete rather than a crash pad. It was reported that the stuntman was supposed to fall backward over a rail, but he grabbed the rail while falling, changing his trajectory.
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He succumbed to his injuries two days later.
Bernecker’s estate pursued legal action against actor Austin Amelio, production company Stalwart Films, and several crewmembers, but Amelio was found to have “zero” responsibility.
The actor was accused of potentially touching the stuntman unexpectedly, causing him to grab the rail before falling.
Because Bernecker was a contracted performer and not an employee of Stalwart Films, no punitive damages were awarded.
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Soon after the verdict was announced, AMC released a statement expressing condolences but maintaining that the set of “The Walking Dead” is not dangerous.
“There is no winning or losing in this situation, this was a terrible and tragic accident and our sympathies continue to go out to John Bernecker’s family and friends,” the statement obtained by Deadline said. “The set of ‘The Walking Dead’ is safe and is managed to meet or exceed all industry standards and guidelines related to stunts and stunt safety.”
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“That has been the case across the production of 10 seasons and more than 150 episodes, and it continues to be the case today, notwithstanding this very sad and isolated accident,” AMC added.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Harris, also issued a statement after the verdict was delivered, telling Deadline: “John was a remarkably talented stunt professional who had an incredibly bright future in the film industry.”
“My sincere hope is this verdict sends a clear message regarding the need to both elevate and strictly adhere to industry safety standards every day, on every shoot, on every film set. John’s tragic and preventable death happened as a result of a series of safety-related failures,” he said. “Learning from these failures will go a long way in making sure that similar tragedies do not happen to another performer or another family.”
AMC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.