L.A. judge halts claims by script supervisor against ‘Rust’ producers
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor on the 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.
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.
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.”
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 at law firm Carpenter & Zuckerman, said in a statement.
The actor and his representatives have previously denied that he acted recklessly, or that he had any knowledge the prop gun was loaded with live ammunition. They’ve also noted that the responsibility to check the gun rested with the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
“The Court’s ruling has no bearing on Mr. Baldwin’s separate motion to dismiss the case,” Luke Nikas, attorney for Baldwin and partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, said in a statement. “We expect to prevail in this case and look forward to having our day in Court.”
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