SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The jury has reached a verdict in the civil case against CSX Transportation, awarding the Jones’ family $11.2 million in damages.
The company has been found negligent in the 2014 death of Sarah Jones on the set of the movie “Midnight Rider.”
After four hours, the jury ultimately ruled in favor of the Jones’ family, finding CSX Property owner Rayonier, Randy Miller, director of the film, and production managers liable for damages.
In closing arguments today, the plaintiff stressed both the film director Randy Miller and CSX were negligent – the only difference being that Miller pled guilty and served a year in jail.
CSX refuses to admit any fault for not stopping the train.
“Seven seconds could have been the difference between a tragedy and people getting off that bridge,” says Jeffrey Harris, Attorney for the Jones Family.
The defense argued that CSX never gave them permission, so the fault lies with Miller, the crew, and Rayonier, who let the crew on the property with the bed they were using for filming on the trestle.
“Nothing they did, or nothing anything that CSX did is a possible cause of the injury, it was a bed,” says Jay Traynham, Attorney for CSX Transportation.
The jury decided on nearly $2 million for pain and suffering and more than $9 million for the value of her life. This includes everything she would have earned in her lifetime working as a camera assistant.
Of the $11.2 million award, 35% will be paid by CSX, 28% by Miller and 18% by Rayonier.
Sarah Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth, said in a statement “We felt that this trial was necessary in order to learn what happened that tragic day of February 20, 2014. It is only with the discovery of what could have been done differently that we might avoid another similar tragic loss of life.”
They went on to say, “Frankly, I believe that the evidence in this trial indicated that CSX has systemic issues that need corrected.”