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Exclusive: Midnight Rider location manager Charles Baxter today denied having anything to do with the railroad trestle shoot on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic, which was the setting of the February 20 death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones. In fact, in a court filing made by his lawyer Kirk Schroeder on Friday (read it here), Baxter revealed publicly for the first time that he was unable to get permission from property owner Csx to conduct filming on the trestle. Baxter also added that he did not plan to film on active railroad tracks and that he was not present at the shoot where Jones was killed and other crew members injured. The Georgia-based location manager denies retaining responsibility for selecting shooting locations. He is also seeking an out of recovery due to workers’ compensation laws, saying all the injuries sustained were due to other people’s actions, not his. »
- Anita Busch and Dominic Patten
The grieving family of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones isn’t letting distributor Open Road Films off easy. Lawyers for Jones’ parents, who filed a May 21 wrongful death suit against Open Road along with director Randall Miller, producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish, and more than a dozen other defendants for their daughter’s on-set death, responded this week to the company’s claim that it has “no causal connection” to the February 20 train tragedy. “Open Road retained responsibility for ensuring that Midnight Rider was filmed safely and legally, and its failure to live up to this responsibility caused Sarah’s death,” said the September 9 filing in Georgia state court. (Read it here.)
Delaware-based Open Road Films argued in an August motion to dismiss that they don’t fall under the Georgia court’s jurisdiction. The Jones’ response outlines numerous precedents setting up the company’s transactional business dealings in the state, »
- Jen Yamato
The family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant killed on the set of “Midnight Rider,” says that the film’s distributor Open Road Films bears liability for the accident, challenging the company’s effort to dismiss itself from the case.
Open Road was among the 16 defendants named in a civil suit filed in May by Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth, but in August the distributor claimed that it was not liable because it was not involved in the production of the movie, and because it was never completed, it did not release it. It also challenged jurisdictional issues.
But in a filing on Tuesday in a Georgia state court in Chatham County, Jones’ family said that Open Road “essentially facilitated the production of ‘Midnight Rider’ and, at a minimum, there is a factual question regarding the extent of Open Road’s involvement and knowledge regarding the making of ‘Midnight Rider. »
- Ted Johnson
The producers of Midnight Rider will fight federal charges that they committed workplace safety violations in the February 20 accident that killed 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones. Production company Film Allman, set up by director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin for the Gregg Allman biopic, was slapped with an Osha fine of $74,900 last month for “one willful and one serious safety violation” in the tragedy. They had until today to pay or dispute the charges. Today the filmmakers issued a notice of contest for both violations and the fine, a Department of Labor rep tells Deadline.
This is just the latest legal tangle for Miller and Savin. Along with producer Jay Sedrish, the filmmakers were each charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing by prosecutors in Wayne County, Ga. All three pleaded not guilty. They’re also named among a litany of co-defendants in a wrongful death civil suit filed »
- Jen Yamato
Update, 4:00Pm: A lawyer for the parents of fallen Midnight Rider crew member Sarah Jones criticized rail company Csx’s attempt to deflect blame onto their daughter, the 27-year-old camera assistant who was killed in a February 20 train collision in rural Georgia. In a cross claim against producers Randall Miller, Jody Savin, and Jay Sedrish filed this week, Csx denied its own negligence in the accident, saying Jones “voluntarily exposed herself to risks” and failed to protect her own safety in the events leading up to the tragedy. She was killed and several other crew members were injured when a freight train barreled into equipment and a hospital bed that had been set up on Csx-owned train tracks on the first day of filming.
“Csx’s attempt to blame Sarah for causing her own death is, unfortunately, not surprising given the Defendants’ behavior to date,” said a statement issued by the Jones family lawyer, »
- Jen Yamato
Railroad operator Csx Transportation has filed a cross claim against the filmmakers behind “Midnight Rider,” contending that the company twice denied them permission to film on train tracks where a Feb. 20 accident killed Sarah Jones and injured six others.
In a filing in Chatham County, Ga., Csx that it “unequivocally denied each request in writing, citing a company policy which prohibits filming on Csxt’s property due to safety and security reasons.”
Csx contends that prior to the accident, the filmmakers or their agents twice sought permission to shoot on the tracks that pass over the property of a Rayonier paper factory and the Altahama River near Jesup, Ga. The requests were turned down.
The train company, in its civil claim for intentional trespass, is seeking damages and attorneys fees from director Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin, executive producer Jay Sedrish and Unclaimed Freight Prods.
Csx is among the defendants »
- Ted Johnson
Jay Sedrish, the executive producer and unit production manager of the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider,” entered a not guilty plea on Monday in response to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass charges stemming from the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, a spokesperson for the Wayne County Superior Court Clerks office told TheWrap. “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin pleaded not guilty to the same charges last month after turning themselves in to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office. Also read: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Deny Criminal Wrongdoing: We Emphasize Safety of the Crew Sedrish's lawyer, John Ossick, has »
- Greg Gilman
Midnight Rider executive producer and production manager Jay Sedrish has waived his right for an arraignment and asked the court to enter a not guilty plea to criminal charges in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Sedrish, director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in Jones' death. Jones was struck and killed by a train in February on the Georgia set of the Gregg Allman biopic. Sedrish's lawyer, John Ossick, confirmed that Sedrish waived his right for an arraignment and asked the court to enter a not guilty plea by mail.
- Hilary Lewis
4th Update, August 18, 7:58 Am: Jay Sedrish, the executive producer/unit production manager of the ill-fated Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, waived his right for an arraignment early this morning and has entered a not guilty plea to criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter in the on-set death of 27-year-old assistant camera assistant Sarah Jones. She died on the first day of shooting the picture in Georgia, on February 20, after a train hit a metal bed that was placed on the tracks to film a dream sequence. Several others were injured by flying debris. Sedrish, director Randall Miller and Miller’s wife/producer Jody Savin were all criminally charged in the matter. Miller and Savin entered not guilty pleas last month.
Sedrish’s not guilty plea, which was entered early this morning to the Superior Court of Wayne County by his attorney John Ossick, comes only a week after the U. »
- Anita Busch and Jen Yamato
Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old camera assistant who died earlier this year when she was struck by a train in Georgia while filming the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, was remembered during the In Memoriam montage during Saturday's Creative Arts Emmys. The death of Jones has sparked a movement for safer sets and the slogan "Never Forget. Never Again." The film's director, Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin and executive producer Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. For the full list of tonight's Creative Arts Emmys winners, click here.
- Carolyn Giardina
Producers of Midnight Rider, the Gregg Allman biopic that cost camera assistant Sarah Jones her life, have been cited by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha).
Midnight Rider Production Co. Cited By Osha
Osha announced Thursday that the production company was guilty of “one willful and one serious safety violation” resulting from their decision to film on train tracks, despite not having permission or a proper safety plan in place.
“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception. It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
In February, the crew of Midnight Rider was filming on train tracks outside Doctortown, Ga., when a train came, »
The U.S. Department of Labor has cited the production company filming the Greg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, connected to the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones in February. Jones was killed by a moving train during filming in Wayne County, Ga. Today, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the producers with one willful and one serious safety violation for exposing employees to hazards and recommended a penalty totaling $74,900. Eight other crew members were injured in the incident.
“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception, »
- Jeff Labrecque
The U.S. Department of Labor has formally cited Midnight Rider production company Film Allman for “one willful and one serious safety violation” in the February 20 tragedy that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones.
“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.” It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle.”
Jones was killed and several other crew members injured on the first day of filming on the Gregg Allman biopic in rural Georgia. The crew had set a hospital bed on the Doctortown trestle train tracks for filming when a train approached and hit the bed, »
- Jen Yamato
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the production company behind “Midnight Rider” for willful and serious safety violations related to the Feb. 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured eight others during shooting on a trestle near Jesup, Ga. Proposed penalties were set at $74,900.
“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle.”
“Their failure to develop a safety plan to prevent such hazards, including obtaining permission from the rail owner to use the tracks for filming, led to the death of one crew member and injuries to eight other employees, »
- Ted Johnson
A fatal accident on the set of Midnight Rider has led to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass charges against producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish and director Randall Miller, as well as several lawsuits on behalf of the victims, but the production company still wants to be insured for the "restarted" production. On Tuesday, Film Allman filed its own civil complaint in L.A. Superior Court against New York Marine and General Insurance Company. The plaintiff says that the accident on the train tracks in Georgia, which killed camera assistant Sarah Jones, forced the film's shutdown, leading to losses of
- Eriq Gardner
The controversial Midnight Rider feature film may yet restart production, despite the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones and involuntary manslaughter charges against director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish, according to a court complaint filed this week.
Related: Update: ‘Midnight Rider’ Exex Producer Arraignment Set
Through Film Allman, the company they established for the Gregg Allman biopic, Miller and Savin filed suit Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court against insurance company New York Marine.
“This action arises from New York Marine’s bad faith refusal to honor its obligations to pay for losses incurred by Film Allman, its insured,” says the 12-page breach-of-contract suit. “Following a fatal on-set accident, which also resulted in injuries to several of the film’s crew members and director, Film Allman was forced to shut down and then restart the production, incurring losses in excess of $1.6 million,” the complaint, filed »
- Dominic Patten and Jen Yamato
The producers of “Midnight Rider” have filed suit against its insurance company New York Marine, contending that it has refused to pay claims after the production halted and incurred at least $1.6 million in losses.
Camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and six others were injured in a Feb. 22 accident on the set of “Midnight Rider,” a biopic of singer Gregg Allman, when a train unexpectedly came on tracks where the production was shooting a scene near Jesup, Ga.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Film Allman, the production entity that director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin set up for the movie’s production. The suit also claims that the insurer refused to cover the project at the 11th hour as producers attempted to restart production with a revised script.
Miller and Savin, along with executive producer Jay Sedrish, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. »
- Ted Johnson
Open Road Films, which was to be the distributor of “Midnight Rider,” is asking Georgia state judge to dismiss it from a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed in the Feb. 22 train accident on the set of the movie.
The company said in a court filing in Chatham County State Court that there is “no causal connection between any conduct of Open Road and any alleged loss or damages plaintiffs contend they suffered.”
It also said that the action should be dismissed because the court lacks jurisdiction over Open Road, among a number of defenses it outlined in its brief.
The family of Sarah Jones filed a civil lawsuit against 18 defendants in May, claiming that the production failed to take reasonable, minimum safety precautions and failed to comply with applicable industry standards. The suit claims that the defendants knew they did »
- Ted Johnson
In an exclusive interview with Deadline, a crew member who suffered serious injuries on an earlier film by Midnight Rider director-producers Randall Miller and Jody Savin has called their “safety first” claims “a lie.” Katie Dover, a costumer who was hurt on the set of Miller and Savin’s 2013 film Cbgb during pre-production, says Miller and Savin’s recent statements regarding safety on their films don’t jibe with her experience. Days ago, Midnight Rider director Miller and his wife-producer Savin — two of the three filmmakers charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones — went on the record stating that since […] »
When 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones was struck by a train and killed on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider in February, industry professionals hit social media to share their support for safety during filming. Months later, Midnight Rider filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the case of Jones’ death, and on Sunday, both Miller and Savin turned themselves in to Georgia’s Wayne County Police Department before posting bond. But now, Miller and Savin’s lawyer, Don Samuel, has confirmed that both Miller and Savin have pleaded »
- Samantha Highfill
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