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When Trespass is Dangerous

Thumbnail image for candles .jpgA railroad crash that took place last winter has now become the subject of a law suit in Chatham County State Court. The case involves a terrible accident that occurred during the filming of a biography about famed musician Gregg Allman and starring William Hurt. One of the scenes for the film involved a somewhat surreal image of a hospital bed on railroad tracks. The film’s producers chose a location for the scene to be filmed on and around railroad tracks owned by CSX Transportation. The production requested permission to film on and around the tracks. The transportation company apparently denied these requests twice and in writing, supporting the denials with specific concerns about the need to keep the tracks secure and safe. The production had permission to shoot on nearby property owned by a lumber products manufacturer.

However, for reasons that are not clear, the production decided to film on and very near the tracks. Various unidentified people were apparently sighted around the tracks by two CSX train operators on the day of the horrific accident. In one report it is claimed that the producers knew they did not have permission to shoot on the tracks, but let the filming go forward perhaps allowing the crew to believe permission had been given. As the filming was occurring, a CSX train traveled directly into the path of the filmmaking, hitting the objects that were on the tracks and killing a young woman involved with the production. She was fatally injured by flying debris.

Her parents have sued on her behalf and two other injured film crew also have sued for their injuries. This tragic case involves some unusual facts and legal issues in which it will be determined whether the production company and/or CSX should be held responsible for this terribly sad situation. This determination will likely take some time.

CSX has filed a lawsuit for trespass against high-level individuals producing the film and the production company itself. CSX claims that the young woman did not use proper care to maintain her safety. The safety issues related to this incident resulted in a major outcry by the film production world. Other legal matters have resulted from this situation. According to reports, three of the filmmakers have criminal charges pending against them, including involuntary manslaughter and a form of trespass that rises to the level of a crime.

The wrongful death action by the parents of the young camera assistant’s parents is a heart-wrenching step for any parent to take. Georgia law allows close family members to recover for the loss of life of a loved one. To ensure your wrongful death matter is handled properly, it is necessary to retain an experienced Georgia wrongful death lawyer. If you have any questions regarding a potential wrongful death case after the passing of a loved one, please contact Scholle Law for a conversation about the steps that can be taken in such a case.