L.A. judge halts claims against ‘Rust’ producers

Mamie Mitchell, the film’s script supervisor, will not be able to air the bulk of her complaint against the film’s producers over a fatal on-set shooting, a judge ruled Friday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker ruled that two of three lawsuits Mitchell had filed against the producers — assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress — could not proceed, according to court filings.

The decision confirms a similar decision in July. Mitchell filed a second amended complaint in August. Manufacturers face an even lesser negligence claim for which no punitive damages can be claimed.

The lawsuit is being closely watched as one of several civil lawsuits filed against the western’s producers in which Alec Baldwin accidentally fired a prop cannon, fatally injuring cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza.

Baldwin and the producers were also sued by gaffer Serge Svetnoy and by the Hutchins family in New Mexico.

In his Friday ruling, Whitaker said Mitchell needed to prove that the defendants — Rust Movie Productions, Thomasville Pictures, Ryan Smith and Langley Cheney — knew that Baldwin would point the loaded gun at them and fire it, and either provide him significant assistance or encouragement to do so.

Plaintiff’s allegations do not prove that the manufacturers “were aware that Baldwin would point and fire the loaded gun at plaintiff, leaving them jointly liable for his willful conduct. In fact, plaintiff’s allegations would prove otherwise: the only person who knew Baldwin would fire the gun was Baldwin.”

Baldwin also faces claims of personal injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence in Mitchell’s complaint. A hearing on these demands will take place in November.

“We look forward to proceeding with our lawsuit against Alec Baldwin as it relates to intentional causes of action that we have specifically alleged against him,” Mitchell attorney Carlos Hernandez said in a statement.

The actor and his representatives have previously denied that he acted recklessly or that he had any knowledge that the prop cannon was loaded with live ammunition. They also determined that the responsibility for checking the weapon rested with gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-09-16/la-judge-upholds-rust-producer-objections-to-claims-by-script-supervisor L.A. judge halts claims against ‘Rust’ producers

Sarah Ridley

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