Alec Baldwin Argues ‘Rust’ Crewmember’s Lawsuit Should Be Dismissed
Alec Baldwin and other Rust producers are claiming immunity in a bid to dismiss a lawsuit from the movie’s script supervisor over the on-set shooting in October that resulted in the death of the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins.
They argue Mamie Mitchell, who was standing just a few feet away from Baldwin when he fired the gun and was the first to call 911, should be pursuing workers’ compensation in New Mexico instead of a civil suit in California.
“It is completely illogical for Plaintiff to contend defendant Mr. Baldwin received a prop gun that everyone including Plaintiff and defendant Mr. Baldwin expected to be ‘cold,’ while at the same time stating that Mr. Baldwin’s conduct was intentional in accidentally firing a live round,” reads the demurrer filed on Monday.
In November, Mitchell sued Baldwin , production companies and other individuals involved with the production of Rust after a loaded gun was fired on set, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Her claims include assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm.
In a filing detailing his legal defense for the first time, Baldwin argued that Mitchell’s workplace injury claim is barred by New Mexico law. He said her “exclusive remedy for a job-related injury is workers’ compensation, not those provided by civil court.”
Mitchell’s lawyers attempt to get around the law by claiming that the alleged negligence that led to the incident was intentional.
In a case involving a worker at a smelting plant who died after his supervisor ordered him to remove a cauldron with molten slag, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that willfulness can render a worker’s injury non-accidental and outside the scope of workers’ compensation laws. It allowed the wife of the deceased worker to proceed with her lawsuit under the theory that the defendant acted intentionally with the knowledge that her husband could be seriously injured or killed as a result of the supervisor’s order.
Baldwin challenged arguments that he intentionally committed any harmful conduct. He argued that nothing Mitchell alleges suggests that any of the defendants knew “the prop gun would be loaded with live ammunition.”
The incident occurred when Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he draws a gun. Although it was not intended to be loaded with live rounds, the gun discharged while Hutchins and Souza were standing adjacent to the camera where Baldwin was directed to point the firearm.
“Plaintiff alleges facts suggestive of negligence (i.e., a claim exclusively subject to New Mexico’s workers’ compensation system), not assault,” wrote defense attorney Aaron Dyer of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in the demurrer, which is embedded below.
Baldwin also alleged that Mitchell has “no apparent physical injury” and “raced to the courthouse in California, without providing the notice in New Mexico required for a worker’s compensation claim, apparently to get her claim in front of any potential claims by the two individuals who were hit by the live round.”
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who is named in the lawsuit and has not yet filed a response, on Jan. 12 sued Seth Kenney, the man whose company supplied ammunition to the production, claiming that he was at fault for introducing live rounds on set.
Neither Hutchins’ estate nor Souza have brought lawsuits over the shooting, though Hutchins’ husband has hired Brian Panish of Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi in connection to the incident.