'Walking Dead' Stuntman's Mother Files Lawsuit Accusing AMC of Cutting Corners

John Bernecker with mother Susan Bernecker									SOURCE John Bernecker with mother Susan Bernecker

The actor has also been named in the civil suit filed by the stuntman's mother.

Earlier this month, Stalwart Films, the production company behind the TV show, was slapped with the maximum fine possible by the U.S. Department of Labor. OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta called on the entertainment industry "to commit to safety practices for actors and stunt people" in announcing the fine on January 5.

"John was a highly professional, veteran stunt performer who always had your back if you were working with him", she said in a statement.

"The AMC defendants orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing 'The Walking Dead" cheaply and ultimately unsafely", the suit alleges. (A representative for Amelio did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.) "On the ground below, the only fall protection for the scene consisted of an area of padding made up of "port-a-pit" pads on top of 22-inch cardboard boxes tied together by rope", the document reads.

Amelio, who plays Dwight on the show, told police after the accident that Bernecker told him he was nervous because he had never performed a stunt drop from so high.

The suit goes on to allege that Amelio touched Bernecker during the stunt, which altered his momentum and changed his landing.

The mother of a stuntman who died after falling 20ft from a balcony onto a concrete floor while filming zombie drama The Walking Dead is taking legal action.

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The Coweta County Sheriff's Office said at the time that Bernecker meant to fall onto a pad and appeared to try to stop his fall by grabbing a railing.

In a statement after the citation was issued, Stalwart Films said it disagreed with the citation and called Bernecker's fall "a tragic and awful accident", saying it meets or exceeds industry safety standards on its sets. "Out of respect for the family, we will have no further comment on this litigation".

The lawsuit also claims the production companies had no ambulance or other medical transportation on the set in violation of industry standards. As a result, more than 30 minutes passed before a helicopter arrived to transport Bernecker to the hospital, and almost an hour elapsed before he was hospitalized, according to the lawsuit. Production of the eighth season of the series was temporarily shut down following the incident in Senoia, Ga., about 35 miles south of Atlanta.

Susan Bernecker said she wants answers to what happened to her son.

Susan Bernecker said she hopes that her son's death will elevate safety standards for stunt performers in the film and television industry and recently launched a foundation in her son's memory.

"We plan to hold all responsible parties accountable for the tragic death of John Bernecker, a remarkably talented stunt performer and actor who had a bright future", Harris said in a statement.


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