You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Midnight Rider’: Judge’s Decision Over Health and Safety Fines Will Not Be Reviewed

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission will not review an administrative law judge’s decision upholding nearly $75,000 in fines against the “Midnight Rider” filmmakers for safety violations stemming from the Feb. 20, 2014, train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured eight others.

The decision to not review the case means that Film Allman, the production company set up by director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin to make the movie, can challenge the health and safety citations in a federal appellate court. Their attorney, Ed Garland, did not immediately return a request for comment on whether they planned to appeal.

In September, administrative law judge Sharon Calhoun upheld $74,600 in OSHA safety penalties, including “willful” safety violations, writing that the accident was “entirely preventable.”

Film Allman then petitioned the commission to review Calhoun’s decision, but they declined, and it was made final on Oct. 30.

The movie had been shooting on a train trestle near Jesup, Ga., when a train came unexpectedly, forcing cast and crew to flee. In August, 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the failure of the production to obtain permission to be on the tracks. Two citations were issued: A “willful” violation for the employer’s failure to provide safety measures to protect employees from moving trains, and a “serious” citation for exposing workers to fall hazards while working on a train trestle that was not equipped with safety guardrails or other fall protection measures.

Film Allman’s attorneys argue that the filmmakers believed that only two trains would go by on the tracks on the afternoon of the filming, and once that happened, it would be safe to shoot on the tracks “because no additional trains would come by.”

“While Film Allman showed a lack of diligence in filming on the tracks on February 20, Film Allman was not intentionally exposing its employees to danger,” the company’s attorneys wrote. “Had Film Allman known the ‘two trains’ information was unconfirmed and unreliable, it would not have filmed on the tracks that afternoon.”

The filmmakers did not have permission from CSX Corp. to be on the tracks, but the production did have the okay from Rayonier Performance Fibers to be on its property surrounding the tracks.

News of the commission’s decision to decline review was first reported by Deadline.

More Biz

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    UPDATED: The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Nicki MinajCFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner,

    Nicki Minaj Parts Ways With Longtime Managers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nicki Minaj has parted ways with Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant and Blueprint/ Maverick Management, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. She had worked with the pair for the majority of her career. The source says the decision was mutual and amicable, and there was no specific reason for the split, adding [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content