Halyna Hutchins’ family is suing Alec Baldwin, multiple producers and crew members for their involvement in the October 2021 Rust shooting that left Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer, dead. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that cost-cutting and reckless behavior caused her death.
“There are many people culpable, but Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon … that but for him shooting, she would not have died,” said the Hutchins family lawyer Brian Panish during a Los Angeles press conference.
The Hutchins lawsuit is one of four legal lawsuits that have been filed against Alec Baldwin and other Rust producers since the shooting.
“Halyna deserved to live,” the complaint read, “and the Defendants had the power to prevent her death if they only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations.”
The lawsuit was filed by Halyna Hutchins’ family on Tuesday in New Mexico, and it lists multiple individuals involved in the Rust movie set. The list includes seven producers: Allen Cheney, Ryan Smith, Emily Salveson, Anjul Nigam, Ryan Winterstern, Nathan Klingher, and Matthew DelPiano. Five crew members are also listed, including Dave Halls, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, Seth Kenney, Gabrielle Pickle, and Sarah Zachry.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed was the armorer on the movie set, and she was in charge of all the ammo that was used in the movie. In January, she sued Seth Kenney and claimed that he gave her a mix of live and fake ammunition.
During the press conference, Halyna Hutchins’ family lawyer presented animation that attempts to recreate the shooting. The disturbing video shows Alec Baldwin firing the gun and hitting Halyna Hutchins, who was only four feet away. The actor is accused of using the gun, which hit and killed the Rust cinematographer on Oct. 21 at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. The bullet also injured director Joel Souza, who got hit in the clavicle.
Halyna Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital in Albuquerque where she was later pronounced dead.
The legal team claims that Baldwin refused weapons training from professionals and that the movie set was not prepared to protect crew members. According to industry standards, crew members must be protected by safety glass when conducting a dangerous scene.
“We’re used to people coming in from out of town to play cowboy who don’t know how to use guns,” said Randi McGinn, the estate’s attorney. “You don’t hand somebody a gun until you give them safety training … No one should ever die with a real gun on a make-believe movie set.”
Lawyers for Halyna Hutchins’ family believe that the lawsuit can go to trial in a year or two.
An investigation into the shooting uncovered the fact that Reed loaded the gun with what she thought was blank bullets before handing it to Dave Halls, who was the first assistant director. Halls called “cold gun,” and gave the weapon to Baldwin for filming.
Alec Baldwin claimed that he didn’t know there were live bullets when he fired and said he never put his finger on the trigger. In a tearful interview with ABC, he said, “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.”
Since the wrongful death lawsuit was announced, the Rust producers are claiming that Halyna Hutchins’ death was a “workplace accident,” and should be dealt with by the state’s worker compensation system.
Halyna Hutchins is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins’ and their 9-year-old son, Aldous.