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A very bad day in GA


S Harber
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in the Deadline coverage these sound like conflicting statements from Mr. Miller: " “”I did not know it was a live train trestle,” the director said on Monday. "  and "  “We were told there were two trains from Rayonier coming through, and no more trains that day, "

if the second quote is true, the first one must be false...eh?

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All I can say is living very close to a two track CSX right of way is when anybody who's allowed to be in the right of way is in the right of way (Verizon, ATT and all the other companies running fiber along the right of way as well as CSX contractors making repairs, survey crews and so on) the trains run very slowly. Not 55 mph as normal, more like between 10 and 20 mph. With few exceptions (waste containers and coal for power plants as far as I've been able to detect) freight rail service does not run on a schedule, it runs on demand.

 

You cannot have it both ways, being surprised by a train coming into a space you do not have permission to be in. 

Best regards,

Jim

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Big Al is posting one of the articles reporting that Sarah Jones' family has filed (as expected) a significant lawsuit naming 18 defendants.

it says: " (defendants) failed to obtain permission for the production to be on the railroad bridge where the fatal accident occurred, and that they concealed that fact and the danger of their shooting plans from the rest of the crew by leading them to think they would be working on the tracks with the permission of the railroad... The complaint alleges that the production failed to take proper safety precautions or hold a safety meeting before shooting; did not post lookouts up the tracks to warn of oncoming trains and did not have an on-site medic present at filming... According to the complaint, an employee of Rayonier, the company that owns the land around the tracks, told the defendants only two trains would pass on the tracks per day. In fact, the line gets 10 to 12 trains in a typical day and is one of the busiest freight lines in Georgia.. "

here's another: http://www.deadline.com/2014/05/sarah-jones-midnight-rider-wrongful-death-lawsuit/

" The tragedy injured seven other crew members, many of whom are also expected to file lawsuits of their own. A criminal investigation by Wayne County Sheriff’s Department has been turned over to the D.A.’s office for consideration. "

Edited by studiomprd
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and now this (Variety): " Gregg Allman has responded to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against him by the parents of Sarah Jones, who died in a train accident on the set of biopic Midnight Rider... A statement from the rock singer's attorney issued on Friday denies that his client had "any knowledge" that the film would be shooting on a train track ... "While the lawsuit filed this week by the Jones family was expected, the inclusion of my clients is unfortunate, unwarranted and without merit. Mr. Allman simply provided an option to acquire motion picture rights to his life story and his autobiography, "

but Mr. Allman wanted to be an "Executive Producer"...

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/midnight-rider-gregg-allman-slams-706946?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=hollywoodreporter_breakingnews&utm_campaign=THR%20Breaking%20News_now_2014-05-23%2015%3A56%3A22_ehayden

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I have been on projects where the Executive Producer never set foot on the set for the entire run of the production. It seems possible to me that Mr. Allman didn't know about the plans to shoot that day. I wasn't there, and can only go by what has been published. But if the director and AD didn't include the Location Coordinator or a Medic on that day's shoot, do you think they would inform the Executive Producer?

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steve: " do you think they would inform the Executive Producer? "

while that is a major: 'it depends', my point is that there is 'baggage' that comes with the titles....

sure everyone wants to be a producer, when there is an award to receive...

 

Also, one of the cited articles makes it pretty clear the reasons for the suit's shotgun strategy: they want to subpoena and  depose, under oath, all these folks to find out all the who's and what's they cannot properly find out in interviews.

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  • 2 weeks later...

These articles from Variety are getting so full of shit.  

Quotes from a producer disparaging Georgia crew over safety??

 

NOBODY from Georgia is getting sued here Ellen Schwarz - THEY ARE ALL FROM CALIFORNIA.

 

It seems like there is some organized attempt to attach Georgia to the behavior of a California producer team and there sheer lack of respect for rules and safety.

 

Listen people - we have been making movies here for DECADES.  Georgia was number two in the WORLD back in the 80s and early 90s before Vancouver began the incentive game, then to be followed by Wilmington and then Florida. 

 

MF

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  • 4 weeks later...

CHARGES have been filed:

Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin (aka Mrs. R. Miller) and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in Wayne County, Georgia superior court -

See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-director-randall-miller-716543?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=hollywoodreporter_breakingnews&utm_campaign=THR%20Breaking%20News_now_2014-07-03%2007%3A35%3A16_HLewis#sthash.RSZePObw.dpuf

 

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/midnight-rider-filmmakers-charged-with-involuntary-manslaughter/

 

The indictment alleged the filmmakers had “unlawfully and without authority” had entered the CSX railroad tracks and trestle “after receiving, prior to that entry, notice from the owner thereof that such entry was denied.  What had been unclear until the indictment was handed down was whether prosecutors believed CSX’s contention that they had told Wayne County sheriff’s investigators that it had refused permission for the production to use its tracks and claimed it had “electronic correspondence” to prove it.  The film’s producers have suggested they received emails from the railroad that either stated or implied consent — but none of those messages have been made public. 

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/midnight-rider-grand-jury-says-producers-lacked-permission-to-shoot-on-railroad-tracks-1201257974/

 

Richard and Elizabeth Jones issued a statement today in response to thecharges filed against filmmakers Randall Miller, Jody Savin, and Jay Sedrish in the death of their daughter, Sarah Joneson the set of Midnight Rider:

“Elizabeth and I are comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges related to the incident that took our daughter’s life. We must allow the criminal justice process to proceed unhindered. Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets. Safety for Sarah.” — Richard Jones

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/midnight-rider-manslaughter-charges-sarah-jones-parents-reaction/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-director-randall-miller-716543?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=hollywoodreporter_breakingnews&utm_campaign=THR%20Breaking%20News_now_2014-07-03%2009%3A57%3A10_HLewis

Edited by studiomprd
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Filmmakers Face Charges in Death on a Set in Georgia

much has been said in the above discussion, some will be answered here:

 

 

By MICHAEL CIEPLY

JULY 3, 2014

LOS ANGELES — A prosecutor in Georgia said on Thursday that three filmmakers had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the death of Sarah Jones, a crew worker who was killed by a freight train on the set of the film “Midnight Rider” in February.

In a statement, Jackie L. Johnson, the district attorney for Georgia’s Brunswick Judicial Circuit, said indictments were returned against Randall Miller and Jody Savin, a husband-and-wife team who were producing the film. An indictment on the same charges was returned against Jay Sedrich, who was a production manager on the project, and was also credited as an executive producer, Ms. Johnson said.

Donnie Dixon, a lawyer for Mr. Miller and Ms. Savin, said he had just learned of the indictments and declined to comment further. Mr. Sedrich, reached at home, said he had not yet been advised of the indictment, and declined to comment.

In her statement, Ms. Johnson said the involuntary manslaughter charge carried a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. Criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, carries a sentence of up to 12 months imprisonment, she said. The case for an indictment was presented on Wednesday to a grand jury in Wayne County, where Ms. Jones died, Ms. Johnson said.

Photo
Rider-master180.jpg
 
Randall Miller, a producer of the film “Midnight Rider.” Credit Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Ms. Jones was working as a camera assistant on “Midnight Rider,” an independently financed film about the rock star Gregg Allman, on Feb. 27, when the accident occurred. She and other crew members, including Mr. Miller, who was also directing the film, were setting up a shot on tracks of the CSX line when a train unexpectedly appeared, killing Ms. Jones and injuring several others.

Ms. Jones’s parents and others have since filed lawsuits against a number of defendants, including the producers of the now-terminated film project.

The parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, who have pledged to create a permanent campaign dedicated to film safety, issued a statement Thursday saying in part, “Elizabeth and I are comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges related to the incident that took our daughter’s life.” The statement added: “Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets. Safety for Sarah.”

A previous on-set disaster, a helicopter crash in 1982 that killed the actor Victor Morrow and two child actors on the set of “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” also resulted in criminal charges. John Landis, the director of the anthology film’s prologue and the segment affected by the accident, and four co-workers were tried for manslaughter. They were acquitted in a trial that caused great anxiety in the film industry.

A version of this article appears in print on July 4, 2014, on page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Filmmakers Face Charges in Death on a Set in Georgia.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/business/media/charges-filed-in-death-of-crew-member-on-midnight-rider-set.html?_r=0

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Note the criminal proceedings are separate from the civil lawsuits going on. They could conceivably get convicted and have to pay a huge cash settlement to the affected parties. 

 

I would bet the insurance company has bailed, too, because that's S.O.P. when you have no permits and/or are trespassing while filming.

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I've read everything about this since it happened, and know most of the people that were on set that day. For obvious reasons, they haven't said much of anything publicly, but I haven't heard anything at all about the insurance. From what I know about the insurance industry however... You are probably dead-on. They would have asked the simple question of "do you have written permission from the railroad" and when the answer wasn't an immediate yes-with-proof... The insurance binder would have been fed to the nearest shredder. 

 

There isn't an insurance company in the world that would accept liability for this kind of stupidity. They are the ones with the deepest pockets, and they KNOW it. Meanwhile... The production rental house in Savannah was already under chapter 11 before this happened, I can't imagine that their own survival is to plausible either after this.

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Marc: " I would bet the insurance company has bailed, too, because that's S.O.P. when you have no permits and/or are trespassing while filming. "

I'm going to say that it depends, but part of the coverage probably included "errors and omissions" coverage, thus setting up another legal tangle, and this one might probably depend on the criminal case' outcome.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

here is the latest, with all three now charged, booked, photoed printed, and released on bail:

http://www.deadline.com/2014/08/midnight-rider-randall-miller-jody-savin-surrender-police-bail-sarah-jones/

 

while the defendants say: " “In the weeks and months that follow when the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know that this was not a crime: we never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody’s safety at risk. ",

deadline reports: " The charge of involuntary manslaughter actually takes intent into account.Specifically, according to the indictment of Miller, Savin and Sedrish, on Feb. 20th of this year it is alleged under the Involuntary Manslaughter count they “did unlawfully cause the death of Sarah E. Jones, a human being, without any intention to do so by the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony, to wit: Criminal Trespass …” "

 

" One of the key points in the case is that Wayne County Sheriff Sgt. Ben Roberston, in his initial report about the incident, wrote: “In my presence, Mr. Sedrish was asked by an employee of CSX if he had permission to be on the trestle or tracks and Mr. Sedrish replied, ‘That’s complicated.’ According to the CSX employee, the production company had previously been denied permission to film on the trestle, and there was electronic correspondence to verify that fact.” "

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"We never had any criminal intent"

I think that is untrue if they were on CSX tracks without permission. That would be at the very least criminal trespass.

that is what the article I linked says!, thus "involuntary manslaughter", resulting from the death during criminal trespass".

 

now this: http://www.deadline.com/2014/08/sarah-jones-midnight-rider-safety-app-crowdfunding-indiegogo-pledge-to-sarah/

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