The Producers are Defendants in a Wrongful Death Case in Georgia involving Filming of the Movie “Midnight Rider”

film camera for blog may 29This is a follow up to the blog that I posted on May 23, 2014 about the young Ms. Sarah Jones who was killed on the film set of Gregg Allman’s movie, “Midnight Rider”, in which I discuss the Wrongful Death Case brought by the parents of Ms. Jones who died while on the set filming the movie on an historic train trestle in Georgia.

The list of Defendants in the lawsuit include the production company among several other Defendants including Gregg Allman himself, who was serving as an Executive Producer on the film. Our sympathies continue to pour out to the family who have lost a dear loved one in such a tragic manner.

The case sites a number of safety violations that led to Ms. Jones’ death including, but not limited to, the crew being mislead that the producers had permission from CSX to film on the railway, when it allegedly did not, and that several standard safety precautions were never taken on the set as well.

It is duly noted, however, that Jones, was not a veteran to the film industry as she began her film career as an intern on the TV series “Army Wives.” Given that Jones did have experience in the film industry, I think it will be interesting to follow this case to see if any of the Defendants raise the defense of Comparative Negligence, which I have discussed in detail in my May 24, 2014 blog.

Comparative Negligence is a defense in tort actions where the Plaintiff’s damages are reduced by an amount determined by the percentage, if any, that the Judge or Jury may find the Plaintiff had as a part, or percentage, of the negligence that caused the Plaintiff’s injuries or, in this case, death to Ms. Jones, that could be attributed to Ms. Jones herself for her involvement in being on a film set that was alleged to be inherently dangerous.

Furthermore, will any of the Defendants raise the defense of Assumption of the Risk arguing that Ms. Jones Assumed the Risk by being on the dangerous set.  Assumption of the Risk in Georgia is an affirmative defense that bars the Plaintiff from recovering on a negligence claim if it is established that the Plaintiff, “Without coercion of circumstances, chooses a course of action with full knowledge of its danger and while exercising a free choice as to whether to engage in the act or not; a defendant asserting an assumption of the risk defense must establish that the plaintiff: (1) had actual knowledge of the danger; (2) understood and appreciated the risks associated with such danger; and (3) voluntarily exposed oneself to those risks. “ Sones v. Real Estate Dev. Group, Inc., 270 Ga. App. 507, 606 S.E.2d 687 (2004).

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