Alec Baldwin can be sued by Rust crew member over shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins, judge rules

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed in a shooting on the set of the western film Rust. Pic: Swen Studios/ Reuters

Alec Baldwin has been denied a motion to be dropped from a civil lawsuit brought by a crew member who was on the set of Rust when the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidentally shot dead.

Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell is able to pursue her claim against Baldwin that he “recklessly” fired a prop gun that killed Hutchins while filming in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a judge has ruled.

The lawsuit alleges that the actor, who is also a producer on the Western film, fired the weapon when it was not called for in the script.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed in a shooting on the set of the western film Rust. Pic: Swen Studios/ Reuters
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Pic: Swen Studios/ Reuters

David Halls, the assistant director who handed the gun to the star, and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set, are named among the defendants alongside Baldwin.

Judge Michael Whitaker denied Baldwin’s motion to be removed from the lawsuit, as well as another to strike the script supervisor’s claim for punitive damages.

Hutchins, 42, was working as director of photography on the film when she died on 21 October 2021. Joel Souza, the director, was also injured during the incident.

“The court finds plaintiff’s allegations in the SAC (second amended complaint) demonstrate alleged despicable conduct carried out by the demurring defendants with a wilful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others sufficient to withstand a motion to strike,” the ruling read.

“Accordingly, the court denies the motion to strike as to the demurring defendants.”

Gloria Allred, Ms Mitchell’s lawyer, welcomed the judge’s decision to not drop Baldwin from the civil lawsuit.

“We are very happy that we won, and that the court today permitted us, over the objection of Alec Baldwin, to proceed in our lawsuit against him on our theories of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence,” she said.

“In addition, the court, over Mr Baldwin’s objection, allowed us to proceed against him for punitive damages.”

Read more:
A year on from the Rust shooting, will prosecutors bring charges?

‘No one is above the law’: Prosecutors say settlement has no impact on investigation

In October, a separate civil lawsuit between Baldwin and the cinematographer’s estate was settled for an undisclosed amount – and it was announced that filming of Rust would resume next year.

A spokesperson for the Santa Fe district attorney’s office said the settlement would have “no impact” on the ongoing criminal investigation.

The sheriff’s office handed over its final report to district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, who will now begin a review of the information to make a “thoughtful, timely decision” about whether to bring charges in the case.

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