Halyna Hutchins’ family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others over the fatal shooting on the set of Rust.
The cinematographer was shot on the set in New Mexico in October when the prop firearm Baldwin held accidentally discharged during rehearsals for a scene, and she later died in hospital. She left behind her husband Matthew and their nine-year-old son.
Brian Panish, a lawyer representing Hutchins’ estate, held a press conference on Tuesday in which he announced he had filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family.
He insisted her death “never should have happened” and claimed it was the result of reckless and negligent behaviour and cost-cutting measures on set.
In the lawsuit, the lawyer alleges Baldwin violated numerous safety protocols for handling firearms and suggests he committed a reckless discharge of a deadly weapon, “which is a criminal offense in the State of New Mexico”.
Seven other producers have been named as defendants alongside Baldwin as well as crew members Dave Halls, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and others.
Attorney Aaron Dyer, representing Baldwin and the other producers, issued a statement in response to the legal action.
“Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy,” Dyer said, reports Variety. “We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the Rust set in the first place. Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false.”
Dyer reiterated the claim that Baldwin was told the firearm was “a cold gun”, a protocol he said is commonplace on film sets and has never resulted in an incident where “an actual bullet harmed anyone”.
“Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use,” the statement concluded.
Baldwin and the other producers have already been sued by Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor; Serge Svetnoy, the gaffer; and Cherlyn Schaefer, the key medic, over the tragedy. The producers recently filed papers to dismiss Mitchell’s complaint.
– Cover Media