Three “Rust” crew members sued Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers on Monday, alleging they have suffered anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the shooting death of the film’s cinematographer.
The three crew members were in the church building at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, N.M., when Baldwin’s gun fired, striking cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza. Baldwin has denied pulling the trigger, though prosecutors have charged him with involuntarily manslaughter for allegedly firing the weapon while it was pointed at Hutchins.
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The plaintiffs in the latest suit are Ross Addiego, the dolly operator, Doran Curtin, the set costumer, and Reese Price, the key grip. According to the suit, all three were in close proximity to Baldwin when the gun was fired, and suffered “blast injuries” from the deafening sound of the shot.
According to the complaint, Hutchins fell to the ground directly in front of Curtin. “She watched in shock as Hutchins grabbed at her abdomen,” the lawsuit states.
“Plaintiff Curtin put her hands on Hutchins’ stomach, trying to find the source of Hutchins’ pain and figure out what was going on. As the chaos continued, Plaintiff Curtin was ushered out of the church. Once outside, she collapsed from the effects of the blast and the shock of the shooting.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the producers cut corners and hired people who had been the subject of previous safety complaints, including David Halls, the first assistant director. The suit also faults the producers for hiring armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed despite her lack of experience, because they allegedly wanted a “quick and cheap production.”
The lawsuit faults Alec Baldwin for not paying attention during weapons training, for failing to ensure that the gun was not loaded with a live bullet, and for discharging the round. Baldwin’s representative declined to comment.
Halls has agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanour count of discharging a dangerous weapon. Gutierrez Reed, like Baldwin, is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.
The three plaintiffs join several other crew members who have filed suits in New Mexico and California, including the script supervisor, set medic and gaffer. In one of those suits, Baldwin’s lawyers filed a counterclaim alleging that four other people were at fault in the shooting, but he was not.
Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, filed a lawsuit a year ago. In October, he agreed to a settlement that will allow the film to be completed. The producers expect to resume shooting this spring in Montana, with Baldwin still in the lead role. Hutchins’ parents and sister filed suit earlier this month.
Last week, Rust Movie Productions agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a workplace safety citation from the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau.