Film Allman, LLC v. Sec'y Labor, No. 15-15720

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesFILM ALLMAN, LLC, Petitioner, v. SECRETARY OF LABOR, Respondent.
Decision Date20 March 2017
Docket NumberNo. 15-15720

FILM ALLMAN, LLC, Petitioner,

No. 15-15720


March 20, 2017


Agency No. 14-1385

Petition for Review of a Decision of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

Before ROSENBAUM and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges, and SCHLESINGER,* District Judge.


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This case comes before the Court on appeal from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission's ("Commission") final decision finding that Appellant Film Allman LLC ("Film Allman") willfully violated § 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSHA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-678, which is often referred to as the "general duty clause." We find that the Commission did not err.

This case involves a tragic train accident that occurred on February 20, 2014, during the first day of shooting for the film "Midnight Rider," a biopic about the Allman brothers.1 As the Film Allman crew set up to shoot a scene that afternoon on the Doctortown train trestle—an active trestle owned by CSX Transportation ("CSX") that spans the Altamaha river in Jesup, Georgia—a freight train barreled through, killing 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones and seriously injuring several other Film Allman crew members.

As the Commission explained in its written order, Film Allman and its supervisors on the set that day failed at every opportunity to ensure the safety of its employees: Film Allman "knew the railroad tracks were live tracks, in active use by CSX, and that CSX had refused permission to film on the tracks. . . . Supervisors Miller, Savin, Sedrish, Schwartz, and Ozier were aware no CSX

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representatives were present at the site to control train traffic while the employees were on the trestle. None of Film Allman's supervisors informed the crew and cast members that CSX would not be on site and would not be controlling train traffic while they were filming on the tracks." In short, Film Allman put its employees in harm's way, and the results were catastrophic.

The Secretary of Labor ("Secretary") conducted a fatality investigation of the accident at the Doctortown trestle and, based on the findings, issued a Citation and Notification of Penalty to Film Allman on August 14, 2014. While the Secretary cited Film Allman for multiple violations of OSHA, the only citation on appeal to this Court is Item 1 of Citation No. 2, asserting that Film Allman committed a willful violation of § 5(a)(1) of OSHA (the general duty clause) by failing to implement safety procedures for filming...

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