Halyna Hutchins’ Estate Sues Alec Baldwin and ‘Rust’ Producers
Months after her tragic death, Halyna Hutchins’ family and estate are suing Alec Baldwin and other “Rust” filmmakers involved in the on-set shooting.
On Tuesday, Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins filed a wrongful death suit, claiming that Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie ‘Rust.’”
The complaint, obtained by "Extra," alleges that Baldwin “and the other Defendants in this case failed to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns to produce the movie ‘Rust,’ with fatal consequences."
The complaint continues, “Halyna deserved to live and the Defendants had the power to prevent her death if they only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations."
The complaint reads, “This lawsuit seeks justice for the losses of her survivors and to hold responsible those who caused her tragic death.”
The document also claims the production was “riddled with breaches of safety protocols that resulted in the presence of live ammunition on the set.”
Along with punitive damages, Halyna’s estate is seeking funeral and burial expenses, and compensatory damages for “the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, guidance, training, assistance and moral support.”
Hutchins left behind Matthew and their son Andros, 9.
In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, the family’s lawyer Brian Panish said, “He lost his long-term wife who was the love of his life, and his son lost a mother. It never should have happened.”
The family’s legal team has also released an animated video of what they think happened leading up to the tragic incident.
Panish added, “We went to the scene, we assessed the scene with experts and we really dug into what we could. I think the video explains why Mr. Baldwin and others were responsible and are responsible for safety on the job site and why their reckless conduct and cost-cutting measures led to the death of Halyna Hutchins.”
In a statement to “Extra,” Aaron Dyer, a lawyer for Baldwin and his fellow producers, responded to the lawsuit, arguing that “any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false.”
“Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy. We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the ‘Rust’ set in the first place,” Dyer continued. “He, Halyna and the rest of the crew relied on the statement by the two professionals responsible for checking the gun that it was a ‘cold gun’ – meaning there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise. This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone. Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use.”
In October, Baldwin, an actor and producer on the film, fired the gun that killed the cinematographer and wounded writer-director Joel Souza on the set in New Mexico.
The lawsuit comes a month after Baldwin handed over his phone to authorities. In a statement, Baldwin’s attorney Aaron Dyer said, “Alec voluntarily provided his phone to the authorities this morning so they can finish their investigation. But this matter isn’t about his phone, and there are no answers on his phone. Alec did nothing wrong. It is clear that he was told it was a cold gun, and was following instructions when this tragic accident occurred. The real question that needs to be answered is how live rounds got on the set in the first place.”
Baldwin insisted that he was complying with the investigation. In an Instagram video, he said, “Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that’s bulls–t, that’s a lie.”
This is a process where one state makes the request of another state,” he stressed. “It’s a process that takes time, they have to specify what they want. We are one thousand percent going to comply with all that.”
In a TV interview in December, Baldwin shared his account of what happened on the day in question, explaining the team was gathered for a marking rehearsal for an upcoming scene. He claimed first assistant director Dave Halls handed him the prop weapon and told him, “This is a cold gun.”
Alec told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, “Now, what happened there, and why he made that statement, and what the realities were, I have, again, I have no idea.” Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco told ABC that checking the weapon was “not his responsibility,” and did not confirm if Halls was the one who handed Alec the gun.
Meanwhile, on the set that day, Baldwin said Hutchins was blocking the scene, saying, “Everything is at her direction.”
He went on, “This was a marking rehearsal. And [Hutchins] says to me, ‘Hold the gun lower. Go to your right. Okay, right there. All right, do that. Now show it a little bit lower.’ And she’s getting me to position the gun.”
Baldwin continued, “She’s guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle. I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit.”
He said he had to cock the gun to get the shot, but explained, “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.”
Stephanopoulos asked, “So, you never pulled the trigger?”
Baldwin answered, “No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them.”