Los Angeles Times
‘Rust’ lawsuit dealt setback
L.A. judge dismisses script supervisor’s assault, distress claims against producers.
“Rust” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell has been dealt a blow in her case against producers of the low-budget western where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set in 2021.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker ruled Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to support her claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In her suit, Mitchell said that she was standing no more than 4 feet from the cinematographer when she was shot and that she was “in the line of fire” when actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired the prop gun that accidentally discharged during a rehearsal on a ranch in New Mexico.
“Plaintiff alleges that she witnessed Baldwin ‘moving the loaded gun within approximately 4 feet in front of her,’ but did not experience any fear or apprehension until after he fired it,” Whitaker said in his ruling.
The judge said Mitchell failed to establish that the producers knew Baldwin would aim and fire the loaded weapon toward her for them to be held jointly liable for his conduct.
The ruling undermines key claims the crew member
brought against Baldwin and the film’s producers in a November lawsuit, in which she alleged they intentionally ignored safety protocols that would have prevented the tragedy.
The lawsuit is one of several facing the actor and producers, who have denied wrongdoing. They face lawsuits by another crew member, gaffer Serge Svetnoy, as well as a wrongful death complaint brought by the Hutchins family.
Mitchell has 20 days to amend and refile her complaint.
The court had previously denied producers’ motion to strike Mitchell’s claims for punitive damages.
The suit names multiple defendants, including producer Anjul Nigam, Baldwin, Rust Movie Productions LLC, Thomasville Pictures, Streamline Global, Short Porch Pictures and 3rd Shift Media.
Nigam declined to comment.
The producer recently launched a new production company with Baldwin.
Representatives for the producers or Mitchell did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment.
A representative for Baldwin previously denied that he acted recklessly or that he had any knowledge the prop gun was loaded with live ammunition.
A spokesperson for the producers previously said they are cooperating with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the “Rust” set.