Rust movie producers clinch win in court over fatal shooting with Alec Baldwin

Los Angeles, California - Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor on the ill-fated and halted movie Rust, won’t be able to bring the bulk of her complaint against the film’s producers over a deadly shooting on the set, a judge ruled Friday. Yet Alec Baldwin will still face her claims.

Script supervisor on the film Rust Mamie Mitchell (r.) got emotional and was comforted by her lawyer (l.) at a press conference after filing a lawsuit against actor-producer Alec Baldwin and other producers of the film after its fatal on-set shooting.
Script supervisor on the film Rust Mamie Mitchell (r.) got emotional and was comforted by her lawyer (l.) at a press conference after filing a lawsuit against actor-producer Alec Baldwin and other producers of the film after its fatal on-set shooting.  © Collage: DAVID MCNEW / AFP

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker decided two of three claims that Mitchell filed against the producers — assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress — could not proceed, according to court filings.

The decision upholds a similar decision made in July. Mitchell filed a second amended complaint in August. The producers still face a lesser claim of negligence, for which no punitive damages can be sought.

The litigation is being closely watched as one of several civil cases being brought against the producers of the western, where Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a prop gun that fatally wounded cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza in October.

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Baldwin and the producers also have been sued by gaffer Serge Svetnoy and by the Hutchins family in New Mexico.

In his ruling Friday, Whitaker said that Mitchell had to prove that the defendants — Rust Movie Productions, Thomasville Pictures, Ryan Smith, and Langley Cheney — knew Baldwin was going to point and fire the loaded weapon toward her, and provided him either substantial assistance or encouragement to do so.

The plaintiff’s allegations fail to establish that the producers "knew Baldwin would aim and fire the loaded weapon towards Plaintiff such that they would be jointly liable for his intentional conduct. In fact, Plaintiff’s allegations would show the opposite to be true: the only person who knew Baldwin was going to fire the weapon was Baldwin."

"I relive the shooting and the sound of the explosion from the gun over and over again," Mitchell said.

Alec Baldwin will face Mitchell's claims on the suit in November after denying he pulled the trigger

Alec Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger of the gun he was holding that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of his movie Rust in October.
Alec Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger of the gun he was holding that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of his movie Rust in October.  © REUTERS

Baldwin is also facing claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence in the complaint by Mitchell. A hearing on those claims will be held in November.

"We look forward to being able to proceed with our lawsuit against Alec Baldwin as it relates to intentional causes of action that we’ve alleged against him specifically," Carlos Hernandez, attorney for Mitchell, said in a statement.

Baldwin also filed an arbitration claim himself against the producers of the movie in a bid to shield himself from liability and cover his legal fees.

The actor and his representatives have previously denied that he acted recklessly or pulled the trigger, or that he had any knowledge the prop gun was loaded with live ammunition.

An FBI investigation deemed the trigger must have been pulled.

Baldwin has passed the blame, noting that the responsibility to check the gun rested with the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed. Reed has sued the weapons provider, while Baldwin said the incident has cost him work and "years of his life."

Cover photo: Collage: DAVID MCNEW / AFP & REUTERS

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