A motions hearing as part of the civil suit filed on behalf of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones was pushed back this morning in Savannah, GA, after lawyers for the film’s distributor Open Road Films revealed they were in talks with Jones’ family for a resolution that could come as soon as Tuesday.
Chatham County Judge Gregory Sapp continued the motions hearing to November 13 to wrap a hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.
Among the key motions to be decided in the civil suit filed by Jones’ family against Open Road, landowner Rayonier Performance Fibers and a dozen others is whether Open Road and production entity Film Allman should be dismissed from the action. Open Road attorneys told Sapp this morning that the distributor and the family were in talks for a resolution, after which Sapp issued the continuance. No other motions were addressed.
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Jones’ parents’ suit claims Open Road was responsible for ensuring a safe and legal shoot, which the distributor answered with an August motion to dismiss. In a later filing, Open Road claimed it had no “operational control” over the shoot.
“This [suit] is about the production and Open Road is a distributor — we only deal with things once the film is made, there is no reason for us to be here,” Open Road lawyer Marvin Putnam said today following the short hearing. “And I think that is what the recordings and the papers will reflect.” Putnam said he believes a deal can be reached with the family.
Jones was killed and several other crew members were injured on the first day of filming on the Gregg Allman biopic in rural Georgia on February 20. The crew had set a hospital bed on trestle train tracks when a train hit the bed, sending debris flying into the group.
The Department of Labor via OSHA citation named Film Allman, the production company set up by director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin for the film, for two violations of exposing employees to fall hazards for lacking safety guardrails or other fall protection measures. According to the DOJ, “a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.”
Filmmakers Randall Miller, Jody Savin, Jay Sedrish and Hillary Schwartz were indicted for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass and that criminal trial is scheduled to begin March 9.
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