The entire tragedy in the “Midnight Rider” case revolves around the death of a young woman who could still be alive if not for perceived negligence. Now, the family of Sarah Jones filed a wrongful death suit against the producers of “Midnight Rider” as well as director Randall Miller. The suit claims that the defendants’ negligence caused the death of Jones and they are asking for money to sequel the value of her life, plus pain and suffering.
While deaths on movie sets are not uncommon, they do occasionally happen and end up in lawsuits against the producers. Here is a look at some infamous cases of people dying while working on a movie and the lawsuits that resulted.
“Expendables 2” Stunt Actor Kun Liu
While filming “Expendables 2,” stunt actor Kun Liu died during an accident when a stunt involving explosives went wrong. Two stuntmen were involved in the incident, with one suffering serious injuries and Liu dying. The accident happened during second unit photography and none of the main actors or their stunt doubles were involved in the vicinity of the accident. A lawsuit was filed by the parents of the stuntman, which claimed that the studio and stunt coordinator was responsible for their son’s death.
In one of the strangest lawsuits against a movie studio based on a death, the widow of actor David Carradine filed a lawsuit against a French company who was handling the film Carradine was shooting when he passed away. However, despite the lawsuit, Carradine’s death had nothing really to do with the production of the movie. Carradine, 72 at the time of his death, was found dead in his hotel room in a very compromising position. The cause of death was asphyxiation. However, the studio promised to provide an assistant for him, and the assistant was out getting dinner when Carradine died. The two sides actually reached a settlement in the case.
One of the most tragic deaths on a movie set came during the making of “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” In that movie, a stunt involving a helicopter ended in tragedy when it fell and killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors. Sued for the deaths were Warner Bros. along with executive producer Steven Spielberg and Bell Helicopters, while director John Landis and others were tried in a criminal case. Landis and others were acquitted in the criminal case while settlements were made in the civil lawsuits by the families of the deceased.