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Family of Halyna Hutchins sues Alec Baldwin and others for ‘Rust’ shooting

Alec Baldwin wearing a cowboy hat, with filming equipment in the background.
Alec Baldwin is shown on set immediately after the shooting of Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza while working on “Rust.” The Hutchins family sued Baldwin over the fatal shooting.
(Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office)
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Alec Baldwin is being sued again for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the western “Rust” in 2021.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Hutchins’ parents and sister alleged battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence against Baldwin and other producers and members of the production.

“We have filed a lawsuit today in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Alec Baldwin, producers of ‘Rust,’ and other defendants who may have been responsible for the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins,” said attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the family. “We want accountability and justice for them.”

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During a news conference at her Los Angeles office, Allred and co-counsel John Carpenter of Carpenter & Zuckerman shared pictures and a video message from the family members, who they said remain in Hutchins’ native country of Ukraine.

“To lose my sister, at least personally for me, was a horrible experience,” Hutchins’ sister Svetlana Zemko said in a video message translated into English and played during the news conference. “It is one of the biggest losses of my life. Even more devastating is to see the utter suffering of our parents and how their health has sharply declined. I believe to let this go and to leave this unpunished is unallowable.”

The lawsuit is the second from Hutchins’ family members; her husband and son previously sued Baldwin and the film’s producers in New Mexico. That lawsuit was settled late last year.

As part of that deal, the beleaguered western would be completed with Matthew Hutchins serving as an executive producer.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of civil and criminal litigation Baldwin faces as a result of his accidental shooting of Hutchins.

Representatives for Baldwin and for the producers declined to comment.

Allred also represented the film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, in her lawsuit against Baldwin and others connected to the “Rust” production. That case is pending.

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At Thursday’s news conference, Allred described the Hutchins family as being financially and emotionally dependent on Halyna Hutchins, who had planned to help them move to the U.S. from their war-torn country.

“But now her mother and sister know that their dream to be together with Halyna, Matt and their grandson Andros will never happen,” Allred said. “They still hope, however, that one day they will be able to come to live in the United States and be an important part of their grandson’s life.”

In their lawsuit, the cinematographer’s mother, Olga Solovey, an emergency operating room nurse; father, Anatolii Androsovych; and Zemko alleged that safety problems on the set of “Rust” — including accidental gun discharges — were rampant and producers should have taken steps to correct them.

They alleged that producers cut corners and hired inexperienced crew members to keep costs down. They noted that shortly before the fatal shooting, camera crew workers walked off the set in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Rust Movie Productions has previously denied allegations of wrongdoing, saying that it had relied on specialists such as armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed to ensure there was no live ammunition on set and that it had not received complaints from union representatives about weapons-related safety problems.

The attorney for Halyna Hutchins’ husband threw cold water on the lawsuit, saying that not only had he not been notified in advance but he didn’t think their claim had merit.

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“We do not believe any other family members have a claim under New Mexico or California law,” said Brian Panish, attorney for Matthew Hutchins. “Neither Mr. Hutchins nor his attorneys were made aware of the family’s intention to file a lawsuit before today.”

New Mexico prosecutors charged Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter last month.

They alleged the actor didn’t attend sufficient weapons training and didn’t follow industry protocols to ensure a prop gun was safe before he used it. Baldwin and his attorney have denied the claims, saying that others were responsible for the tragedy and that he would fight the charges.

The New Mexico prosecutors also charged Gutierrez Reed with involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, she and Baldwin could face mandatory five-year prison sentences.

Assistant director Dave Halls pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and will be a witness in any trial.

Hutchins was a rising star cinematographer when she took the “Rust” job. The fatal shooting happened Oct. 21, 2021, when Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in a small church on Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M.

The actor was drawing a replica Colt .45 revolver across his body and pointing it at the camera, which he has said Hutchins instructed him to do. He has also said that he believed the gun was safe to use and that he didn’t pull the trigger.

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Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars, was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ Here’s everything we know so far.

March 7, 2024

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