Four months after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set of the film Rust, her family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against producers on the film. The lawsuit, announced at a news conference in Santa Fe, claims producers and staff on the film — including Alec Baldwin, who was holding the gun that discharged and shot Hutchins — were negligent of gun-safety practices on film sets, leading to Hutchins’s death. The lawsuit was brought by her husband, Matthew, and her child, Andros. Brian Panish, a lawyer for Hutchins’s family, said at the press conference that the “reckless behavior and cost cutting” of those named in the suit “led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins.”
The lawsuit, obtained by Vulture, cites complaints by crew members about gun safety on set, including previously reported misfires in the days leading up to the shooting. The lawsuit additionally alleges those tasked with checking guns for live rounds, including the armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls (both named defendants), did not properly check the gun before giving it to Baldwin. “If basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set of Rust on October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year old son,” the lawsuit claims.
Baldwin said in an ABC News interview that he “did not observe any safety or security issues at all” on set and claimed he did not pull the trigger on the gun. “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” he said. Attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed and Halls, among others, have also asserted their clients’ lack of culpability. The wrongful death suit is the latest in a number of claims involving the film, several of which name Baldwin, producers, and the armory team.
A criminal investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Panish said during the news conference that filing a civil suit will allow lawyers for Hutchins’s family to continue their investigation and that he hopes the suit will move “on a parallel track” to the criminal investigation. He also spoke about the feelings of Hutchins’s widower. “Matt is grieving. He understands that a lawsuit is needed to get answers,” Panish said. “He wants answers. He wants closure.”