'Midnight Rider': Sarah Jones Family Says Film's Distributor Can't Be Dismissed From Lawsuit

Issue 10 BIZ Sarah Jones Inset Main Image - H 2014
Randy Thompson Photography; Bobby LaBonge

Issue 10 BIZ Sarah Jones Inset Main Image - H 2014

The film's distributor had asked to be dropped as a defendant

The distributor for Midnight Rider can't be dismissed from the lawsuit Sarah Jones' family filed, because they put in place the conditions that led to her death, the family argued in a Wednesday court filing.

Jones, an assistant camera operator, died after being struck by a train in Wayne County, Ga., during a shoot for the Gregg Allman biopic on Feb. 20. The family filed a lawsuit against the film's producers, the film's distributor Open Road, the train company and the company who owns the land the train tracks are on. 

On Aug. 8, Open Road filed a motion to dismiss, saying that it was not involved in the production of the film and since the film was never completed, it was never distributed. It also claimed it did not do business in Georgia, so should be dismissed from a suit filed in that state.

However, the Jones family says in their filing protesting Open Road's motion to dismiss: "The Distribution Agreement does not address whether Open Road exercised any operational control over the filming and production of Midnight Rider. However, distributors can have varying levels of involvement in the production of films they are to distribute, which may include evaluating safety protocols and placing personnel on site to monitor film production."

The filing also quotes three news articles that reported "that a representative [sic] Open Road was, in fact, present when Sarah was killed."

The train company, CSX Transportation, has said it twice denied permission to the film to shoot on the tracks.

Email: Soo.Youn@THR.com