Mother Of 'The Walking Dead' Stuntman Killed On Set Preparing To File Lawsuit

The mother of stuntman John Bernecker, who died performing a stunt on The Walking Dead's Georgia set last July, intends to "seek justice for John and to ensure that no other parent with a child working in the film and television industry suffers this kind of heartbreak," Deadline reports.

Bernecker, 33, died after falling 22 feet, missing a cushion below "just by inches."

OSHA issued The Walking Dead's production company, Stalwart Films, a citation and maximum allowable fine of $12,675 Friday for "the company's failure to provide adequate protection from fall hazards."

OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said the tragedy "should serve as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry."

Bernecker had more than 90 stunt credits to his name, including Logan and the upcoming Black Panther.

"There are no words to describe the loss of my son, John, who was a highly professional, veteran stuntman with a remarkable passion for life," Bernecker's mother, Susan Bernecker, said in a statement.

"He was very respected and loved in the film industry. This tragedy has changed our family forever and has left us with many questions that deserve answers."

Bernecker's attorney, Jeff R. Harris, represented the parents of Sarah Jones, after the camera assistant was killed filming Midnight Rider in 2014. That incident also occurred in Georgia.

"We have been waiting for the OSHA investigation to conclude so that we can proceed with civil litigation," Harris said.

"We are hopeful that the John Bernecker case will elevate safety standards in the film and television industry so that stunt-related tragedies can be avoided in the future."

Stalwart Films disagreed with the OSHA findings, calling Bernecker's death "a tragic and terrible accident."

"We take the safety of our employees extremely seriously on all of our sets and comply with – and frequently exceed – industry safety standards," the company said.

"We disagree with the issuance of this citation and are considering our response."

Susan Bernecker thanked fans for their "outpouring of love" in July and launched a memorial site for her son.


Season eight of the hit AMC series paid tribute to Bernecker with two episodes dedicated to his memory.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC Sunday, February 25.