The parents of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed during filming of a movie in Georgia in 2014, have won their case. The family was awarded a $11.2 million verdict in damages in the case by the jury. Ms. Jones, 27, was fatally struck by a train that crashed into a crew filming a scene on a railway for the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider.” Several other crew members also were injured during filming of the scene on a historic trestle outside of Savannah. The producers did not have permission to film on the railway. The accident prompted multiple state and federal investigations and galvanized the film industry, prompting calls for greater attention to safety on sets worldwide.
Lawyers for CSX, the train’s operator, had argued that they had not authorized the “Midnight Rider” filmmakers to shoot on the railway. However, the jury found that CSX was primarily liable for the accident and should pay 35 percent of the total judgment. Jurors said that Jones’ parents should be given just under $2 million for pain and suffering and $9.2 million for economic losses. CSX said in a statement that it would appeal.
Jones’ parents agreed to a confidential settlement with the film’s producers in 2014. The film’s director, Randall Miller, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2015. He was sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined $20,000. Miller was found responsible for 28 percent of the amount of the jury award. Rayonier Performance Fibers, owners of the land where the accident occurred, were responsible for 18 percent and the rest of the liability was divided between individual members of the film’s production company. Sarah Jones was found not to have been responsible in any respect for the accident.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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