Gregg Allman dropped from Sarah Jones lawsuit

Gregg Allman was the subject of a biopic that was being filmed when Sarah Jones, a camera assistant, was killed by a freight train on a film set.
Gregg Allman was the subject of a biopic that was being filmed when Sarah Jones, a camera assistant, was killed by a freight train on a film set.
(Joe Howell )

Rocker Gregg Allman has been dropped from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant killed on a film set earlier this year.

Attorneys representing the Jones family said Thursday that Allman, his manager Michael Lehman, and Open Road Films, the film distributor launched by the AMC and Regal theater chains, have been dismissed from a lawsuit filed against the producers of “Midnight Rider.”

Jones was killed and six crew members were injured on Feb. 20 when a freight train crashed into the crew as they were filming the Gregg Allman biopic on a historic train trestle in Doctortown, Ga. Jones was struck by the train and debris from a bed that had been placed on the track for a dream sequence involving actor William Hurt.

In a lawsuit filed in Chatham County State Court in Georgia in March, Richard and Elizabeth Jones allege that producers Randall Miller (also the film’s director) and his wife, Jody Savin, and other parties negligently caused their daughter’s death. The suit also named Allman, Lehman and Open Road, among others.


“After reviewing the many thousands of pages of documents, and other information we have obtained through the legal discovery process, it is clear that Mr. Allman and Mr. Lehman had no involvement in any of the decisions that resulted in Sarah’s death,” said Jones family attorney Jeff Harris of Harris Penn Lowry LLP. “Our investigation has also shown that, in this case, Open Road Films was not directly involved in the poor decisions that led to this horrific event and the tragic loss of Sarah’s life. As a result, we are dismissing all claims against the three parties.”

Added Richard Jones: “During a very difficult and trying time for our family, Gregg Allman and Michael Lehman demonstrated their genuine sorrow over the loss of our daughter and their willingness to work with us in the future to ensure safe film sets for all. For that, we are grateful.”

“Midnight Rider” was based on the life of Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Following the accident, Allman sued producers Unclaimed Freight, alleging the company lost the rights to tell his story after Jones died. He subsequently dropped his suit as part of an out-of-court agreement.

The accident, which happened on the first day of filming, caused “Midnight Rider” to shut down and prompted multiple investigations by various federal and state agencies.

A Georgia grand jury on July 2 indicted Miller and Savin as well as executive producer Jay Sedrish on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. Miller, Savin and Sedrish have pleaded not guilty. A trial date for criminal case has been set for March 9, 2015.

In August, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Pasadena company Film Allman LLC for “one willful and one serious safety violation” for exposing employees to hazards, with proposed penalties totaling $74,900.

Twitter: @rverrier