The lawsuits are piling up following the February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider. Makeup artist Antonyia Verna and her husband Richard Brewer filed a suit June 12 in Chatham County seeking damages against the film’s producers and additional parties, naming 16 defendants as responsible in the tragedy that left Verna injured alongside Jones and five other crew members. Verna is suing over damages she suffered in the accident, including physical injuries, medical expenses, post-traumatic stress, and pain and suffering.
The lawsuit is the latest in a mounting legal skirmish over the incident that occurred during filming on the Gregg Allman biopic helmed by Randall Miller. He and producer Jody Savin, their Unclaimed Freight production banner, location scout Charley Baxter, exec producers Nick Gant, Michael Lehman, Don Mandrik, and Jay Sedrish, 1st AD Hillary Schwartz, Gant’s Meddin Studios, property owner Rayonier, railroad company CSX Transportation, and distributor Open Road Films are named in the new suit. The defendants also were named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Jones last month seeking unspecified damages “for the full value of Sarah’s life.”
The lawyer for Gregg Allman today responded to a lawsuit filed by the parents of Sarah Jones, who was killed on the set of Allman biopic Midnight Rider in February. “The inclusion of my clients is unfortunate, unwarranted and without merit,” Atlanta-based attorney David Long-Daniels of Greenberg Traurig LLP said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Allman simply provided an option to acquire motion picture rights to his life story and his autobiography. [He] had no role in securing any location for the making of the movie or the actual physical production of the film.” Allman is among 18 defendants named in the wrongful-death suit filed Wednesday in Georgia State Court by Richard and Elizabeth Jones. His attorney’s statement comes 10 days after Allman settled a lawsuit he had filed against Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and his production company Unclaimed Freight.
UPDATE: “I Almost Died”, Says ‘Midnight Rider’ Director Of Train Accident That Killed Sarah Jones As Gregg Allman & Filmmakers Settle Lawsuit
UPDATE, 7:50 AM: No word if the movie is going ahead but the Allman Brothers Band frontman’s lawsuit against Midnight Rider director Randall Miller‘s production company Unclaimed Freight is over. “We have come together and reasoned with one another,” Gregg Allman‘s lawyer David Long-Daniels today told Judge John Morse Jr’s Georgia courtroom. With a motion for dismissal without prejudice being filed, the attorney offered no other details about what settlement the two sides had reached over Allman’s April 28 complaint over the big screen option to his life. The musician’s lawsuit was also an effort to stop the Miller-helmed film from starting up again after the February 20 death of camera assistant Sarah Jones and the suspension of filming. While this dispute centered on allegedly missed payments and production schedule on the controversial pic, Allman had already advocated Miller drop the project.
During a hearing on Monday, one of Miller’s lawyers insinuated that Allman was just using the rights issues to shut the movie down because of the tragedy of Jones’ death. “Just because the going gets rough, just because it gets inconvenient, that doesn’t mean Mr. Allman can pick up his marbles and go home,” attorney Donnie Dixon told the court.
BREAKING: William Hurt, who was set to play Gregg Allman in the feature film Midnight Rider, has pulled out of the movie. The exit of its star casts even more doubt over whether the Randall Miller-directed biopic will move forward following the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during filming in February in Georgia. A source close to the production tells Deadline the filmmakers “were already looking to recast some roles,” including the Gregg Allman character.
Most recently, Miller and his production company Unclaimed Freight were looking to restart pre-production on the movie in LA in a few weeks, even as investigations are ongoing over who is to blame for the February 20 accident in Wayne County, GA where a film crew was struck by a train while shooting on a trestle.
Crew around Los Angeles are getting word that pre-production on Midnight Rider is starting up in a few weeks back in L.A. with Randall Miller at the helm. Deadline broke the news earlier this week that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight banner were trying to resume filming on the Gregg Allman biopic following the tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia. The decision to continue with the film has prompted a flurry of tweets to Allman and has given rise to a new Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider” which the daughter of director John Frankenheimer said everyone should join.
Jones, 27, was killed February 20 in Wayne County, GA in a train collision during filming on the pic. Seven other crew members were injured and multiple investigations are underway to determine the responsible parties.
“Morally how can he continue, knowing that his decision cost Sarah Jones her life? He had the ability to say no,” said Frankenheimer, who works as a location manager. “As the daughter of a director and I know that the director is the final voice. And if the director and producer allow it to happen, they have to accept responsibility.” She added: “It infuriates me. I find it an affront to all of us. “He doesn’t deserve a crew of any kind. No one should agree to work on this film. I find it shameful. I cannot believe that this man has the chutzpah to do this. If you don’t speak up then that’s just as bad.”