25 Replies Latest reply on Jul 21, 2017 10:58 PM by Ussnorway

    More about the death of a film crew member

    John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

      I remember lots of discussion when this happened, and now it's back... I think the woman's parents are going after the deep pockets, and I also think the railroad company should be found to NOT be liable

       

      Trial to decide if railroad shares blame in movie crew death | Fox News

        • 1. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
          Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

          so the train people should what... put a sign up to explain thats trains can hurt when you stand in front of them?

          of course this is a country where coffee being hot is a problem for people

          • 2. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
            Bob Howes Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I was about to agee that it's wrong to blame the train company for the stupidity of the film crew/company but then I came to one of the last paragraphs.  It seems that at least two other trains had past the same place and seen people trespassing though not on the tracks.  I think there might be some culpability that the presence of trespassers was't passed on up the chain. 

             

            I still think that the vast majority of the responsibility rests with the film people--but at very least the railway needs to review its policies and procedures.

            • 3. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Well... yes... except when I read the article the previous train crews did not make a report because the people were not on RR property, so they were not trespassing and there was nothing to report

               

              Added... the film crew did not (as far as I know from newspaper reports) know that the DIRECTOR had been refused permission to film on the tracks... the responsibility is his, and he should have gone to prison for FAR longer than only one year!

              • 4. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                Ussnorway  wrote

                 

                this is a country where coffee being hot is a problem for people

                 

                Was that one real?  I was going to compare it with the Winnebago cruise control story, but a quick Google told me it was urban myth.

                http://wisemanbray.com/outrageous-lawsuit-verdicts-legal-system-lotto-fact-or-urban-myth/

                 

                 

                • 5. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                  Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                  yes its a real case and 88 is too hot for US people... perhaps thats why tea isn't pop there?

                  Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia

                  • 6. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                    Bob Howes Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Yes, McDonalds did indeed lose a lawsuit when a 79 year old woman spilled coffee in her lap while riding in the car.  This case became famous as an example of misuse of the legal system.

                     

                    HOWEVER...

                     

                    It came out at the trial that McDonalds corporate required franchises to store coffee at 180-190 degrees F.  Most other places selling coffee serve it in the 140-160 degree range.  At 190 degrees F, the coffee can cause 3rd degree burns in a matter of seconds and that's what happened to the woman in question.  She spent a long time in hospital and suffered from numerous painful skin grafts.

                     

                    It also turned out that this problem had been reported to McDonalds lots of times before and, in every previous case, they negotiated out of court settlements to keep the problem out of the news. 

                     

                    Based on all that, Maccas lost the case and was NOT a frivolous lawsuit.

                    • 7. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Ussnorway  wrote

                       

                      so the train people should what... put a sign up to explain thats trains can hurt when you stand in front of them?

                      of course this is a country where coffee being hot is a problem for people

                      As Bob says, that hot coffee thing is not what you think it is. This video is an entertaining explanation of what that whole thing was actually about.

                      • 8. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                        Bob Howes Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        As for the train people, the one area where they have slight responsibility is that at least two trains passed the trespassing crew before the accident.  I'd have thought both drivers should have got on the radio to pass on a warning to the control centre.

                         

                        As an aside, about 40 years ago when I was still in Canada I worked on a project that needed shots on a track.  The rail company was super cooperative about finding us a disused section of track and even gave us use of one of those maintenance "speed buggies" complete with driver, all free of charge.

                         

                         

                        Sent from my iPhone

                        • 9. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          >at least two trains passed the trespassing crew before the accident

                           

                          Where I live has a shared beach along the Columbia River... with RR tracks on the north side of the field next to the beach

                           

                          If a train crew called in every time they saw someone NEAR, BUT NOT ON the RR's right of way, there would be many reports every weekend

                           

                          The article said that the other train crews saw people near, but not on the RR's property... so there was nothing to report

                          • 10. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                            Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                            if I boil water (100c) in a jug then pore it over my genitals the shop gets sued because the water is too hot and that jug needs a tag warning me not to do that?

                             

                            do people in the US remove shirts before ironing... nevermind its a rhetorical question

                            • 11. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              A very long time ago I had to take a business law class in College

                               

                              This was long enough ago that I don't remember the results, but two things stuck in my mind

                               

                              A burglar took a ladder out of a garage and leaned it against the house to climb up to a 2nd floor window... the ladder broke, and the burglar sued the home owner for having a defective ladder that caused his broken leg

                               

                              A father was playing with his infant son, throwing him up in the air... right into the blades of a spinning ceiling fan... the father sued the fan maker for not having a warning on the fan blades

                               

                              The point of all that is that in the US anyone can sue anyone else for just about anything

                               

                              In this case, the family is suing the RR because the movie director who caused the woman to die doesn't have much money

                              • 12. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                Bob Howes Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Serious question:

                                 

                                Do freelance technicians, production companies, etc (basically anyone working on things that could be in any way dangerous) in the USA not carry liability insurance?

                                 

                                I don't know a single freelancer in the UK who doesn't carry several million pounds in liability insurance.  If a light or speaker you hung falls and hurts somebody or if somebody tripped over my mic cable, it's covered by insurance.  There are actual insurance companies that specialise in liability cover for the entertainment industry--and (from memory) three million pounds cover used to cost me under two hundred pounds.

                                 

                                It was similar with companies except they carried far more insurance.

                                • 13. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  This happened over 3 years ago, so my memory of what was reported at the time is hazy, but my "general" recollection is that this was a very low budget production, with a director who had a reputation of ignoring rules

                                   

                                  So, my GUESS is that IF there was liability insurance, it wasn't much... when you work in a state with a "mature" entertainment industry (such as California) there are at least some safeguards in place... other states, maybe not so much

                                  • 14. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                    gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Ussnorway  wrote

                                     

                                    if I boil water (100c) in a jug then pore it over my genitals the shop gets sued because the water is too hot and that jug needs a tag warning me not to do that?

                                     

                                    do people in the US remove shirts before ironing... nevermind its a rhetorical question

                                    As much as we get slammed for frivolous lawsuits, there are cases that have just causes.

                                     

                                    Going back to the 1960s, poor or non existent safety labeling could cause problems.  Especially with those not sufficiently trained in using hazardous products that could be bought anywhere. Mixing two types of cleaners for example could create poisonous fumes and no ordinary person had any idea.

                                     

                                    A famous case involved celebrity pianist Liberace who was touring small venues including a nightclub in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

                                     

                                    For some reason he was not able to find a dry cleaner to clean up his wardrobe for an evening engagement. So he bought a large container of dry cleaning fluid (which back then could be found in local stores). It was assumed if you bought it, you already knew the precautions about safe ventilation. This fluid had carbon tetra chloride (later banned) and while the fumes were still strong, Liberace decided to take a nap in his room. He woke feeling sick and had to be rushed to the hospital--acute renal failure. The doctors told him to get his affairs in order. He eventually recovered, won a large lawsuit over it, and from now on, the bottles had the cautionary labeling:

                                    "Flammable and Toxic fumes. Use in a well ventilated area".

                                     

                                    This case is not well known because the same day, Nov 22nd 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated.

                                    • 15. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                      Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                      When legionnaires disease became a big thing many years ago, my workplace responded by increasing the temperature of the hot water system.  Above 60°C (140°F) if memory serves.  Every washbasin had a bold red warning label which you ignored at your peril.  That was a long way short of MacDonald's coffee temperature though — from what I remember, our 60°C tap water was already too hot to more than sip (carefully) so you'd have to wonder why anyone would sell coffee at over 80°C?

                                       

                                      My work tap water didn't stay like that, and I can't remember why.  Perhaps they put chlorine or similar in it? 

                                      • 16. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                        gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        They probably figured something better than scalding hot wash water. No matter how careful, water splashes.

                                         

                                        There used to be a coffee house--Java Hut--that I passed by downtown. Once I tried their coffee and it was much too hot for the paper cups they put it in. I could not hold one long enough to get it to where they kept the cream and sugar. I mentioned it to the manager, but he told me he saw nothing wrong. I just never went back. Even for the possibility of a court settlement, i would never want to deal with chance of getting injuries that could be permanently damaging.

                                        • 17. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                          Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                                          Trevor.Dennis  wrote

                                           

                                          you'd have to wonder why anyone would sell coffee at over 80°C?

                                          coffee and tea need heat to work (tea needs 100c) but imo thats not the point. I wasn't there but I'm willing to bet that the reason Mac lost their case was because the cups they used were sub standard and shown to fail repeatedly... hot water in a sturdy cup is not as big an issue.

                                           

                                          the side effects are what interest me because now fast food places tend to use two cups at a time and cities all over the world are drowning in non-biodegradable | disposable cups

                                          • 19. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                            gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            I did expect that. A company can pay most or all of the damages even if the share little or none of the blame. It's like, "let's not send the next of kin home empty handed." Then I wonder if the award will be whittled down on appeal.

                                            • 20. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              I don't agree with the jury verdict, but I also expected that "something" would be given to the family

                                               

                                              I still think the director should have gone to prison for a LOT longer time

                                              • 21. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                                gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Definitely agree on the director. That's really callous disregard. I don't know what factors contributed to that sentence.

                                                 

                                                We had the Ghost Ship Warehouse fire in Oakland last year that killed 36 people at a party there. The owners who had been warned of the numerous safety code violations are looking at 39 years prison time.

                                                • 22. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  As I remember, the director's wife & partner were also charged, and he worked out a deal that he would be the only one to get jail time

                                                   

                                                  I think his sentence was 3 years, of which he of course only served about 1 year

                                                   

                                                  One person dead and several other's injured all because he didn't think a NO answer, twice, applied to him

                                                  • 23. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                                    gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    Even though he walks for whatever reason it was, I think that's going to be a dark spot he won't be able to hide when he goes to look for work or tries to direct somewhere else. Basically his career is finished.

                                                    • 24. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      >his career is finished

                                                       

                                                      Well, maybe... being convicted of rape didn't end the career of Roman Polanski

                                                      • 25. Re: More about the death of a film crew member
                                                        Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                                                        he will prob make a book about it then do a movie if people read it... anything goes when $ is around