Alec Baldwin, producers face added negligence claim in 'Rust' movie set lawsuit

A script supervisor who was standing next to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when she was fatally shot with a prop weapon fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the film "Rust" has added a negligence claim to her lawsuit against the movie's producers.


(Photo of Alec Baldwin by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

Mamie Mitchell brought an amended lawsuit Tuesday, adding the cause of action to her previous allegations of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of emotional harm.

"Defendants and each of them failed to exercise any care to prevent harm to plaintiff and/or acted in a way that constituted an extreme departure from the applicable standard of care," according to Mitchell's amended complaint, which also alleges the producers' actions "constituted gross negligence."

On Jan. 24, the producers filed a motion to dismiss the original suit that had been scheduled for hearing Feb. 24.


"Nothing about (Mitchell's) allegations suggest that any of defendants, including Mr. Baldwin, intended the prop gun to be loaded with live ammunition," the defense attorneys argue in their dismissal motion. "Moreover, nothing about plaintiff's allegations suggests any of the defendants knew the prop gun contained live ammunition."

Mitchell's original suit was filed Nov. 17, alleging that she was "standing in the line of fire when the gun went off."

Hutchins, 42, was killed on Oct. 21 while Baldwin, a producer and star of "Rust," was helping to prepare camera angles for a scene on the film's set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin, 63, fired a weapon which was supposed to contain only blank rounds but discharged a lead bullet that struck Hutchins in the chest then lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, 48.

The mishap has led to a criminal investigation and an array of legal actions by crew members alleging widespread negligence and unsafe conditions on the film set.

Mitchell's lawsuit reiterates many of those claims, noting that union camera operators had walked off the job to protest working conditions, that two "unexpected gun discharges" had occurred days before the shooting, and that live ammunition was permitted on the set.

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But Mitchell's suit, filed by Gloria Allred and other attorneys, also alleges specific wrongdoing by Baldwin, claiming he fired the weapon during the rehearsal "even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm."

"Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, fired the gun towards individuals, including plaintiff, Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza, even though protocol was not to do so," according to the lawsuit.

Also named as defendants in Mitchell's lawsuit were the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the weapon on set and declared it to be a "cold" gun, meaning it did not contain any live rounds.

The suit also claims Baldwin should have assumed the gun was loaded unless "it was demonstrated to him or checked by him" that it was not loaded. The lawsuit also says Baldwin "failed to check the gun to see if the firearm was loaded."

The suit also criticizes Reed's actions on the set, saying the armorer "allowed guns and ammunition to be left unattended on a rolling cart" on the set during a lunch break.

Attorneys for Reed have denied any wrongdoing on her part, even suggesting that someone attempted to "sabotage" the production by placing live ammunition in a box containing dummy rounds.

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