Gregg Allman dropped from film-related wrongful death lawsuit

Southern rocker Gregg Allman has been dropped from a lawsuit filed earlier this year, following the death of film-crew member Sarah Jones, her family’s attorney said Thursday.

In May, Jones’ parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Chatham County, naming a slew of individuals and entities associated with “Midnight Rider,” the movie about Allman that Jones, 27, was working on when she was killed Feb. 20 on a Jesup train trestle.

On Thursday, attorney Jeff Harris said Allman and Michael Lehman, who both served as executive producers for the project, and Open Road Films, the film’s distributor, would be dismissed from the suit.

“After reviewing the many thousands of pages of documents, and other information we have obtained through the legal discovery process, it is clear that Mr. Allman and Mr. Lehman had no involvement in any of the decisions that resulted in Sarah’s death,” Harris said in a statement. “Our investigation has also shown that, in this case, Open Road Films was not directly involved in the poor decisions that led to this horrific event and the tragic loss of Sarah’s life. As a result, we are dismissing all claims against the three parties.”

Numerous other defendants remain.

Among them are Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish, who were indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in July after the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office presented the case to the grand jury. Miller and Savin are the owners of California-based Unclaimed Freight Productions, which was filming “Midnight Rider.” Sedrish served as executive producer and unit project manager.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison, and criminal trespass carries a potential of 12 months, the district attorney’s statement noted at the time the indictment was announced. The three, who have pleaded not guilty, face trial next year.

In his Thursday statement, Harris said the decision to drop some defendants followed a lengthy investigation.

“The comprehensive civil lawsuit filed by the Jones family, naming multiple defendants, allowed access to extensive and voluminous evidence,” he said. “We very much appreciate Mr. Allman’s and Mr. Lehman’s full cooperation during discovery and are pleased we’ve reached a place of closure with them as well as Open Road. The investigation into the actions and involvement of the remaining defendants is ongoing.”

Sarah Jones was a beloved member of Atlanta’s film community, and her death spurred a “Slates for Sarah” campaign demanding more attention to safety on sets. Her father, Richard Jones, addressed the legal update in a statement.

“The legal process is working and questions are being answered,” he said. “During a very difficult and trying time for our family, Gregg Allman and Michael Lehman demonstrated their genuine sorrow over the loss of our daughter and their willingness to work with us in the future to ensure safe film sets for all. For that, we are grateful.”

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