Lawyers for the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed on the set of the film Rust when a prop gun misfired, filed a petition to appoint a representative to appear on her behalf on court this week. According to the petition, the representative chosen will decide whether to file a wrongful death suit, three months after the Rust shooting occurred.
Her husband Matthew Hutchins, and her 9-year-old son, Aldous, were reportedly directed to choose Kristina Martinez, a Sante Fe lawyer who will speak in court on behalf of Halyna Hutchins’ family. Martinez would act, “solely for the purpose of investigating and pursuing a lawsuit under the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act,” according to the court filing.
The petition did not state, however, if any defendants would be named. The investigation so far has centered around four individuals: Alec Baldwin, the actor who fired the prop gun; Dave Halls, the assistant director who was fired following the shooting; Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer in charge of loading the firearm cart; and Seth Kenney, the alleged ammunition supplier.
According to Deadline, the appointment of an estate speaker is a specific requirement for courts in New Mexico, which also allows a lengthy three-year window for filing a Wrongful Death Act.
Halyna Hutchins’ family hired Los Angeles-based law firm Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi, The New York Times reported, which reportedly specializes in wrongful death litigation and personal injury.
Though several lawsuits were filed from members of the film’s crew following the shooting, no charges have been made against Baldwin or any of the production crew.
Alec Baldwin and Halyna Hutchins’ family were reportedly close, according to the actor. After the incident, he said that he met with Matthew Hutchins and their son for breakfast, and that he was cooperating with the authorities.
On Monday, lawyers for Alec Baldwin filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell.
Authorities remain unaware just how live ammunition got onto the set of Rust, or how the prop gun became loaded. Assistant Director Dave Halls allegedly handed the gun to Alec Baldwin after Halyna Hutchins was told that no guns would be used in the scene they were shooting. The actor then test-fired it, pointing it at the camera, without confirming that it was unloaded.
Director Joel Souza was also injured in the prop gun misfire, but Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed at the age of 42. She was an up-and-coming cinematographer, according to co-workers, and was described as a talented and dedicated filmmaker.
“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” Baldwin said during a live television interview with ABC New’ George Stephanopoulos. “Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”
“She was my friend,” Baldwin revealed, adding that the two got dinner with Joel Souza before filming began. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.”
According to Sante Fe DA Mary Carmack-Altwies, however, no one has been excluded from the investigation as potentially liable. After over three months, the investigation remains ongoing.
“Everyone involved in the handling and use of firearms on the set had a duty to behave in a manner such that the safety of others was protected,” Mary Carmack-Altwies told TMZ last month, “and it appears that certain actions and inactions contributed to this outcome.”
“Once I have had the opportunity to review the complete investigation,” she continued, “certain individuals may be criminally culpable.”