The producers of the film Rust, including Alec Baldwin, have asked a California court to dismiss the script supervisor’s lawsuit against them for his deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchinson on the New Mexico set of the low-budget Western.
“Nothing about Plaintiff’s allegations suggest that any of Defendants, including Mr. Baldwin, intended the Prop Gun to be loaded with live ammunition,” responded Baldwin, Rust Movie Productions, LLC,, El Dorado Pictures, Inc., Ryan Donnell Smith, Langley Allen Cheney, Thomasville Pictures, LLC, Anjul Nigam, Matthew DelPiano, and Cavalry Media, Inc., who were “erroneously sued as Calvary Media, Inc.” says the filing in response to Mamie Mitchell’s November 17, 2021 lawsuit. “Moreover, nothing about Plaintiff’s allegations suggests any of the Defendants knew the Prop Gun contained live ammunition,” the defendants’ memorandum accompanying their demurrer Monday added.
“The absence of such allegations of course makes sense because the Incident is apparently unprecedented in the filmmaking industry,” the document adds, apparently overlooking past film set fatalities like Brandon Lee’s shooting death on 1994’s The Crow. “Because all three of Plaintiff’s causes of action, are based on allegations of negligence that resulted in a workplace accident, they should be dismissed because her exclusive remedy is New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Act, not a civil action filed in California State Court,” the filing adds.
As the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation into what went horribly wrong on the Rust set on October 21 last year, Baldwin and his fellow producers’ Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP attorneys are requesting a February 24 hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker to dismiss Mitchell’s lawsuit.
It should also be noted that Mitchell is represented by Gloria Allred, a prominent attorney who has never backed down from a conflict. In fact, last fall, when Allred filed the complaint with LASC, it appeared to be aiming for precisely such a confrontation.
“Alec Baldwin should have assumed that the gun in question was loaded unless and until it was demonstrated to him or checked by him that it was not loaded,” the filing proclaimed in language echoed at a press conference Mitchell and Allred held soon after filing the suit. “He had no right to rely upon some alleged statement by the Assistant Director that it was a ‘cold gun,’” the wide-ranging, damages-seeking complaint goes on to say, referring to Assistant Director David Halls.
“Mr. Baldwin cannot hide behind the Assistant Director to attempt to excuse the fact that he did not check the gun himself,” continues the filing from Mitchell, who was actually in the church location on the Bonanza Creek Ranch when Baldwin’s “quick draw” move during rehearsal killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Halls, along with Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has been at the center of the sheriff’s inquiry since he admitted not thoroughly examining the gun before giving it to the actor.
As her legal representatives have suggested sabotage on the filming that had safety and labor difficulties, Gutierrez Reed filed a lawsuit against PDQ Arm and Prop’s so-called armorer/mentor Seth Kenney and his Albuquerque-based firm earlier this month.
Despite some push and pull over his cell phone with a media-chatty Baldwin, the police and the de facto Santa Fe D.A. haven’t arrested or charged anyone in connection with Rust’s death.
The Rust producers are still pursuing the internal investigation they proclaimed on October 22, 2021. That review is not final yet.
What do you think about the allegations set forth against Baldwin and the producers of Rust? Let us know in the comments below.