A Los Angeles federal judge has denied a motion by Film Allman and the producers of the ill-fated Midnight Rider movie that would have forced their insurance carrier to cover losses associated with the project despite their criminal negligence.
Camera assistant Sarah Jones was struck and killed by a speeding freight train on the film in 2014 while the cast and crew were shooting a scene on a Georgia railroad trestle. Director Randall Miller spent a year in jail for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. Two others – unit production manager Jay Sedrish and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz – received suspended sentences after pleading guilty to the same charges.
In his ruling (read it here), U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II found that the facts and the law are clear: that the film crew did not have permission to be on the tracks, and that loses due to criminal acts are not insurable under the policy issued by the New York Marine and General Insurance Company.
“Without the crew’s unauthorized presence on the tracks, the accident would not have occurred,” the judge ruled. “In conclusion, the court determines that there is a valid exclusion in the insurance policy for criminal acts, and that exclusion was triggered here.”