Over two months after the script supervisor on Rust filed a jury seeking lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and the other producers for the actor’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchinson on the indie Western’s New Mexico set, the defendants want a California judge to dismiss the action.
“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 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 (read it here).
“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 deaths like Brandon Lee 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 Sheriff’s Office continue their probe of what when terribly wrong on the Rust set on October 21 last year, Baldwin and his fellow producers’ Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP lawyers are requesting a February 24 hearing before LA Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker on their move to toss Mitchell’s case out. Mitchell, it might be added, is represented by Gloria Allred, who hasn’t been know to back down from a fight now and then.
In fact, the complaint placed in the LASC docket by Allred last fall seemed to be looking for just such a fight.
“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 lawsuit last year “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, adding 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.
Having since admitted he didn’t examine the weapon properly before giving it to the actor, Halls, along with Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has been at the center of the cops’ investigation. As her lawyers have floated a sabotage on the safety and labor problem plagued production, Gutierrez Reed launched her own legal action earlier this month against the film’s so-called armorer/mentor Seth Kenney and his Albuquerque-based PDQ Arm and Prop.company.
Even with some push and pull with a media chatty Baldwin over his cell phone, the police and the de facto Santa Fe D.A. haven’t arrested or charged anyone over the Rust shooting.
Throwing a bit of a Hail Mary against Mitchell’s complaint on claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and facing other lawsuits too the Rust producers are still pursuing the internal investigation they proclaimed on October 22, 2021. That review may be close to completion I hear, but nothing official yet.