“Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin are seeking a court’s dismissal of CSX Transportation’s claim of intentional trespass on their train tracks, the site of a Feb. 20 train accident near Jesup, Ga. that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured eight others on the film’s crew.
Last week, Jones’ family announced a settlement with Miller, Savin and 11 other defendants in their wrongful death civil suit, but CSX is still a defendant in that lawsuit.
In September, as they responded to the Jones family’s lawsuit, CSX also filed a crossclaim against Miller, Savin and their production companies. But because of the recent settlement, Miller and Savin contend that the crossclaim should be dismissed on procedural grounds, “for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
CSX, according to Miller and Savin’s attorneys, contends that it suffered business losses for the time that its tracks were shut down after the accident and during an investigation. “In other words, CSXT wants these defendants and others to pay it for time that it had to shut its track down for Sarah Jones’ death,” Miller and Savin’s attorneys said in a filing in Chatham County Court on Tuesday.
Their attorneys also are seeking a stay of discovery, and, if CSX cross claim is not dismissed, that it be tried separately from the Jones family’s wrongful death litigation.
According to the filing, Miller and Savin’s legal representation in the civil case was paid for by the film’s insurance company. But that representation ended on Nov. 6, when the Jones family settlement was reached, and they have instead retained the law firm of Garland, Samuel & Loeb.
That firm is also representing Miller and Savin against criminal charges of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter. Also charged were executive producer Jay Sedrish and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, and each has plead not guilty.
Miller and Savin’s attorneys contend that any discovery in CSX’s case would be “prejudicial and oppressive,” given that it has to do with evidence that is being gathered for their criminal case.