Judge Rules ‘Rust’ Script Supervisor Can Seek Damages

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A judge has ruled that a script supervisor who stood next to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when she was fatally shot with a gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the film “Rust” may seek punitive damages from some of the producers who sought to have the damages reversed.


What do you want to know

  • LA Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker heard arguments Thursday and ruled in favor of plaintiff Mamie Mitchell and against defendants Rust Movie Productions LLC, Thomasville Pictures LLC, Ryan Smith and Langley Cheney
  • Mitchell’s attorneys alleged that the four defendants “intentionally undertook a low-budget, cost-cutting plan that was known to create unsafe conditions for film production crews.”
  • In their court papers, Mitchell’s attorneys alleged that the producers “intentionally failed to hire experienced crew members to manage and handle the numerous weapons that were to be used in the film.”
  • Days before the shooting, a camera operator reported two unexpected firearm discharges during a rehearsal in a cabin, Mitchell’s lawyers further argued.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker heard arguments Thursday and ruled in favor of plaintiff Mamie Mitchell and against defendants Rust Movie Productions LLC, Thomasville Pictures LLC, Ryan Smith and Langley Cheney .

“For purposes of argument, the court finds that the First Amended Complaint alleges sufficient facts to establish despicable conduct conducted by mobile defendants with a willful and knowing disregard for the rights or safety of others,” the judge wrote. .

The judge also noted that attorneys for Mitchell alleged that the four defendants “intentionally undertook a low-budget, cost-cutting scheme that was known to create unsafe conditions for film production crews, resulting in the inability of the defendants to ensure basic safety protocols regarding the dangerous use of firearms.

In their court papers, Mitchell’s attorneys alleged that the producers “intentionally failed to hire experienced crew members to manage and handle the numerous weapons that were to be used in the film.”

Days before the shooting, a camera operator reported two unexpected firearm discharges during a rehearsal in a cabin, Mitchell’s attorneys further argued.

“This is super dangerous,” the camera operator wrote in a text message to the production manager, according to Mitchell’s attorneys.

In their court papers seeking dismissal of the claim for punitive damages against their clients, attorneys for the producers named in the motion argued that while the shooting was intentional rather than accidental, it was not a a deliberate act on the part of a member of the production.

“The plaintiff alleges that Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger alone and the plaintiff admits there was nothing in the script regarding the discharge of the weapon,” lawyers for the producers argued in their court documents.

Mitchell’s original lawsuit was filed Nov. 17, alleging that she was “standing in the line of fire when the gun went off.” She then filed an amended complaint on February 8. Baldwin, 64, is one of the defendants.

Hutchins, 42, was killed Oct. 21 as Baldwin, himself a producer and star of “Rust,” helped set up camera angles for a scene on the film’s set near Santa Fe, New York. Mexico. Baldwin fired a weapon believed to contain only blanks but discharged a lead bullet which struck Hutchins in the chest and then lodged in director Joel Souza’s shoulder.

Mitchell’s lawsuit alleges specific wrongdoing on Baldwin’s part, saying he fired the gun during rehearsal “even though the scene to be filmed ahead did not require cocking and firing a firearm”.

Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger, saying he pulled the hammer out of the gun and released it before the gun discharged.

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