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Wrongful death filed in Georgia against filmmakers, others

The parents of a film crew member recently opted to seek their own justice for the loss of their daughter in a fatal accident. The Georgia tragedy occurred while the daughter and others were staging a scene to be filmed. The wrongful death suit was filed in the state courthouse in Chatham County. The incident took place in Wayne County. They have named several parties that they believe share responsibility for this tragic death.

The film company was engaged in shooting a biography about Gregg Allman, entitled, “Midnight Rider.” According to accounts, the film crew — including the 27-year-old who died — was setting up a movie scene which required the positioning of a bed over railroad tracks on top of a trestle. Reportedly, the crew believed that the railroad had expressly authorized the filming on the tracks. However, while a representative for CSX declined to comment on the suit, the company was named as a defendant because it allegedly did not stop rail traffic. The lawsuit appears to acknowledge that the company did not technically give its consent to the filming on the tracks but still asserts that the company was negligent nonetheless.

As a fast-moving freight train headed toward the group, the only way for them to get to safety was to apparently run in the direction of the locomotive to try to escape the trestle. In addition to the fatality, several others suffered injury. The National Transportation Safety Commission as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident. In addition, local law enforcement office has not ruled out filing charges in this matter.

For now, production on this project has been shut down. This tragic incident is not the first time that a fatal accident has occurred on a movie set. The parents of this woman have exercised their right to file a wrongful death suit. A successful litigation in the Georgia civil court may enable them to obtain some sense of closure for their loss as well as a monetary judgment that may afford the family the opportunity for reimbursement of unpaid obligations and other financial losses following their daughter’s untimely death..

Source: The New York Times, “Fatal film accident prompts wrongful death suit“, Michail Cieply, May 21, 2014