The Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider continues to find itself embroiled in legal drama. Following a February 20th train incident that resulted in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, the production company – Allman included – has been sued by Jones’ family and crewmembers who were injured when a freight train tore through their shooting location. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, makeup artist Antonyia Verna is suing the Midnight Rider production team alongside Allman himself.
Verna claims that, following the incident, she sustained “serious physical injuries, medical and other necessary expenses, post-traumatic stress, mental anguish, lost income, and mental and physical pain and suffering.” This new lawsuit comes nearly three weeks after hairstylist Joyce Gilliard also sued the production after suffering a fractured arm and post-traumatic stress following the accident. The Verna lawsuit also supplies more details regarding the February 20th incident; specifics that attempt to prove that Open Road Films and the freight company were negligent.
Once it became apparent that a train was heading toward their shooting location, Verna claims, crew members had less than 60 seconds to evacuate the scene. However, because running toward the coming train provided the shortest path to safety, crewmembers actually had much less time to escape. The trestle bridge hovers high above the Altamaha River, and since crewmembers were much closer to land where the train was approaching, they ran that way. Six people, including Verna and Gilliard, were injured when the train, which was traveling at over 60 miles per hour, passed through the set.
Among the other damning allegations in the Verna lawsuit are accusations that the production failed to take “minimum safety precaution” – from not having a lookout to not holding a pre-shoot safety meeting to not attaining an on-set medic – while also filming in an “unreasonably dangerous site” without getting proper permission and clearance.
While Gregg Allman is listed as plaintiff in all of these lawsuits because he’s an executive producer, he argues that he shouldn’t be held accountable because he is not involved in the actual shooting of the film. Allman has asked producers to cease production on the film, which is based on his memoir My Cross to Bear, out of respect to Jones. While Allman at one point filed a lawsuit to stop the production, he later dropped the suit.