UPDATED with latest: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled that Rust script supervisor Mamie Mitchell can pursue her negligence and other claims against Alec Baldwin, who fired a loaded gun on the New Mexico set of the indie Western last year that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
The ruling comes as the Santa Fe District Attorney continues to scrutinize the police report about the fatal shooting, which occurred on October 21, 2021 at Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Baldwin had filed a motion to be removed from the civil lawsuit filed in November 2021 by Mitchell, who was standing near Hutchins and Souza when the gun Baldwin was holding fired. Judge Michael E. Whitaker today also denied a motion from Baldwin and his El Dorado Pictures Inc to strike the script supervisor’s claim for punitive damages.
“Accordingly, the Court finds plaintiff’s allegations in the SAC [second amended complaint] demonstrates alleged despicable conduct carried out by the demurring defendants with a willful and conscientious disregard of the rights or safety of other sufficient to withstand a motion to strike,” the judge wrote in his final ruling today.
“We are very happy that we won, and that the Court today permitted us, over the objection of Alec Baldwin, to proceed in our lawsuit against him on our theories of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence,” said Gloria Allred, one of Mitchell’s attorneys in the case. “In addition, the Court, over Mr. Baldwin’s objection, allowed us to proceed against him for punitive damages.”
Lawyers for Baldwin and El Dorado did not respond to a request for comment.
PREVIOUSLY, September 16: Only Alec Baldwin is primarily responsible for the firing of the loaded gun on the Rust set last year that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Friday.
“While [Rust script supervisor Mamie] Mitchell alleges that the producers assisted Baldwin by supplying the loaded weapon, Mitchell’s allegations fail to establish that the producers knew Baldwin would aim and fire the loaded weapon … such that they would be jointly liable for his intentional conduct,” Judge Michael E. Whitaker said today in a tentative and now final ruling.
Today’s hearing in downtown Los Angeles focused on Mitchell’s multi-claim lawsuit against defendants Rust Movie Productions LLC, Thomasville Pictures LLC and other producers of the indie Western pic. In her action filed less than a month after the fatal shooting on the New Mexico set on October 21, 2021, Mitchell claimed that Rust producers, star/producer Baldwin and other crew members were distinctly negligent with safety and other regulations.
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However, a significant portion of the guts of her lawsuit were cut out by Whitaker today.
“Mitchell’s allegations would show the opposite to be true: The only person who knew Baldwin was going to fire the weapon was Baldwin,” the judge wrote. This ruling dismisses Mitchell’s claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as assault and battery against the Rust producers. However, Baldwin himself remains a defendant in the now-twice-amended lawsuit.
The tragic shooting on the Rust set occurred during a rehearsal in which a gun was not even supposed to have been utilized.
‘Rust’ Gun Could Not Fire Without Trigger Pull, FBI Report States
While the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office has yet to finalize its probe of the shooting that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, lawsuits from various parties have been filed against Baldwin, the Rust producers and core crew members. Among those, most poignantly, is a wrongful-death suit against the Emmy-winning actor and producers by Hutchins’ widower and her family.
Long denying that he ever pulled the trigger on the gun that was improperly loaded with live rounds, Baldwin is also seeking to have the claims against him in Mitchell’s suit tossed out. A hearing is scheduled before Whitaker on that portion of the lawsuit November 1.
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