Alec Baldwin accuses 'Rust' crew members of negligence in new lawsuit

The actor "seeks to clear his name," his lawyer said.

November 12, 2022, 9:23 AM

Alec Baldwin has filed a lawsuit over last year's fatal shooting on the set of "Rust," alleging negligence of several of the film's crew members while seeking to "clear his name."

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, names the western's first assistant director, armorer, ammunitions supplier and prop master as defendants.

Baldwin's cross-complaint follows a lawsuit filed last year by the film's script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell. The civil suit accused Baldwin of "playing Russian roulette" by pointing a Colt .45 revolver at the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, accidentally shooting and killing her. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the October 2021 shooting.

"More than anyone else on that set, Baldwin has been wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy," an attorney for Alec Baldwin, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said in the complaint. "By these cross-claims, Baldwin seeks to clear his name and hold cross-defendants accountable for their misconduct."

PHOTO: Hamptons International Film Festival Chairman, Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival, Oct. 7, 2021, in East Hampton, N.Y.
Hamptons International Film Festival Chairman, Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival, Oct. 7, 2021, in East Hampton, N.Y.
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Hutchins was killed by a live round inside the gun, authorities said. Questions have surrounded how live ammunition made it onto the New Mexico set and into the prop gun and whether proper safety precautions were taken by crew members.

Those named in Baldwin's lawsuit have denied any culpability amid an investigation into the shooting and other lawsuits.

Mamie Mitchell's lawyer, Gloria Allred, issued a statement late Friday night responding to Baldwin's lawsuit, saying his "cross complaint is a shameful attempt to shift the blame to others, just as he has done since he fired the fatal shot which killed Ms. Hutchins."

"[Baldwin] claims that everyone else was negligent and that everyone else is at fault," Allred continued. "Mr. Baldwin appears to argue that he is the only one that is truly innocent ... It was [Baldwin] that failed to make sure that the gun did not contain live ammunition in violation of industry protocols and common sense. [He] cannot escape [his] responsibility for this terrible tragedy by pointing [the] finger at everyone else.

The film's first assistant director, Dave Halls, had handed the gun to Baldwin while proclaiming "cold gun," to let the crew know a gun with no live rounds was being used, according to a search warrant affidavit. Halls reportedly told investigators that he didn't know there were any live rounds in the gun when he gave it to Baldwin, according to the affidavit.

Baldwin's suit alleges that the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, "failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully" and had been acting "recklessly," including allegedly taking the film's prop guns to a shooting range for target practice.

An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed has previously said that his client had no idea where the live rounds came from, and that she was not in the church where the rehearsal was taking place.

"Baldwin is solely responsible for the harm that happened," her attorney, Jason Bowles, said in response to Baldwin's lawsuit. "He rejected training and pointed the gun and pulled the trigger without the armorer being present. His arrogance is astounding. It's his fault period."

Earlier this year, Gutierrez-Reed filed a lawsuit accusing Albuquerque prop house PDQ Arm and Prop LLC of providing the set live rounds in a box that was only supposed to contain dummy rounds.

In an interview with ABC News days after the shooting, Seth Kenney, the owner of the prop house, denied that the live round and other live rounds investigators found on the set came from his company.

"It's not a possibility that they came from PDQ or from myself personally," Kenney said. "When we send dummy rounds out, they get individually rattle tested before they get sent out."

Baldwin's suit additionally alleges that the film's prop master, Sarah Zachry, failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed "was a safety risk to those around her."

The lawsuit claims Baldwin has "suffered substantial damage" as a result of the defendants' alleged negligence.

"He has suffered physically and emotionally from the grief caused by these events. Not a day goes by that he doesn't think about, and suffer from, the events that happened that day," the complaint states. "Baldwin has also lost numerous job opportunities and associated income. For example, he's been fired from multiple jobs expressly because of the incident on 'Rust' and has been passed over for other opportunities."

He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, including indemnification against any damages that may arise from Mitchell's lawsuit.

After a year-long investigation into the shooting, the Santa Fe County sheriff's office last month turned over its report to the local district attorney, who will decide whether to press criminal charges against anyone involved in the shooting.

Last month, the family of Hutchins reached a settlement in its wrongful death lawsuit against the producers of the film, including Baldwin.

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