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Attorneys suing actor Alec Baldwin and others in a wrongful death lawsuit have released a computer animation recreation of what they contend happened on the ill-fated “Rust” movie set.
On October 21, 2021, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Baldwin was holding a gun that discharged during a rehearsal that tragically resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and the wounding of director Joel Souza.
A police investigation is still underway, and the Hutchins’ family has moved forward this week with the civil lawsuit filed in New Mexico before criminal charges, if any, emerge, which is a somewhat unusual decision generally in these kinds of cases.
The statute of limitations in New Mexico for wrongful death appears to be three years from the date of the fatality, however, so the family is well ahead of any legal deadline.
Cases of this magnitude, i.e., given the huge amount of money damages that could be awarded along with the number of potentially liable parties, often get settled out of court before they go to trial and end up with a verdict or judgment. Time will tell, however.
The animation could well be introduced as evidence in a trial, which may not get underway for a year or more. The discovery process, i.e., pretrial evidence gathering and depositions, especially given all the parties, could be a massive project in and of itself.
A live round allegedly found its way into the prop gun, a .45 caliber Colt on the day in question.
Baldwin, who was a producer of the film as well as its star, has denied responsibility for what occurred and told ABC News in December 2021 that he didn’t pull the trigger.
‘I didn’t pull the trigger’: Sobbing actor Alec Baldwin makes shocking denial on ‘Rust’ tragedy https://t.co/Z86lY2PdhM
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 2, 2021
“The lawsuit said that the defendants should not have allowed live ammunition onto the set, that Mr. Baldwin should not have pointed a gun at anyone, and accused the production of ‘aggressive cost-cutting’ that it said had ‘jeopardized and endangered the safety of the cast and crew,'” the New York Times reported.
Complaint- Hutchins Wrongfu… by Fox News
The first paragraph of the lawsuit claims that Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of the move Rust.”
Paragraph two states that “Defendant 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.”
“There are many people culpable, but Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon that, but for him shooting it, she would not have died. So clearly he has a significant portion of the liability, but there are others,” L.A. based Attorney Brian Panish, who is representing Halyna’s husband Matthew and young son Andros, along with an Albuquerque law firm, said at a presser.
Named as additional defendants include armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, and prop weapons provider Seth Kenney, other production companies and individuals, plus defendants to be named at a future date.
Gutierrez-Reed has a separate lawsuit pending against Kenney and his company. Kenney has denied providing any live ammo to the Rust set. Several other lawsuits have been filed in connection with this tragic incident.
Baldwin’s lawyer denied the recklessness allegation, calling it “entirely false.”
“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,” Attorney Aaron Dyer asserted in a statement, and also noted that Baldwin and his team are cooperating in the investigation.
According to paragraph 53 of the Hutchins complaint, which appears to be reflected in the animated video, “Defendant Baldwin was sitting on a church pew at the Bonanza Creek location, approximately four feet away from multiple members of the crew of Rust, when he reached across his body and used his right hand to grab the revolver holstered on his left side, drew the revolver with a ‘cross draw’ movement across his body and aimed it directly at Ms. Hutchins while drawing back the hammer on the revolver. He released the revolver’s hammer, and – BAM – Defendant Baldwin fired the revolver.”
Keep in mind that a complaint is a one-sided rendition of events as a plaintiff perceives it. The defendant or defendants then have an opportunity to submit legal responses that set forth their viewpoints.
Baldwin, a Trump-loathing liberal and gun control advocate, uploaded a cryptic Instagram posting after news broke that the Hutchins family is hauling him into court.
View this post on Instagram
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