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Family Of Slain 'Rust' Cinematographer Sues Alec Baldwin And Others For Wrongful Death

A large-format photo sits on an easel with two people in T-shirts sitting on a Western-style set.
A photo of Serge Svetnoy and Halyna Hutchins is displayed after a November news conference that announced a separate lawsuit by Svetnoy.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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The husband and 9-year-old son of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins have brought a wrongful death lawsuit against actor and producer Alec Baldwin, alleging Baldwin’s fatal shooting of Hutchins was the tragic consequence of negligence and violating safety rules.

Tuesday’s legal action from Matthew and Andros Hutchins says Baldwin is largely responsible for killing Hutchins because he didn't follow “basic rules for safe gun handling,” including failing to treat the gun as if it was loaded and failing to aim it away from Hutchins. The civil action says Baldwin violated New Mexico criminal law because he “recklessly caused a deadly weapon to discharge.”

New Mexico authorities have yet to say if they intend to file criminal charges. The Hutchins family lawsuit is the latest in several such actions filed in response to the fatal shooting, including one from Hutchins’ long-time chief electrician.

What The Family Alleges

The family’s complaint, which seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, names as defendants Baldwin, the movie’s producers, and crew members and vendors who worked with firearms on the film’s set.

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As part of its legal action, the Hutchins family produced a sophisticated video reenactment of the October incident, countering some of Baldwin’s previous statements about what happened. More broadly, the complaint argues that the “Rust” production had no regard for safety, largely to keep costs down.

PSBR_DKG_Hutchins Final

From the outset of filming, the lawsuit says:

  • Baldwin and his fellow “Rust” producers “chose to hire the cheapest crew available, rather than hiring, training, and supervising crew who were qualified”
  • And also “chose to cut corners and not strictly enforce the industry standard gun safety protocols on set, including proper storage, inspection maintenance and operation of firearms and ammunition.”

It quotes from text messages and an email from a “Rust” camera operator saying the set was “super unsafe” before Baldwin killed Hutchins because of prior discharges of live ammunition. The film’s unit production manager allegedly replied, “Awesome. Sounds good.”
Baldwin has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

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