A judge ruled Tuesday that "Rust" script director Mamie Mitchell may sue actor Alec Baldwin for fatally wounding cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the Conservative Brief reported. During filming, Baldwin fired a prop weapon that contained the live round that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker had blocked Mitchell's previous claims in September. However, the latest ruling allows Mitchell to proceed with claims of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault against Baldwin.
"For pleading purposes, the Court finds the second amended complaint alleges facts sufficient to establish despicable conduct carried out by [the defendants] with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others,” the judge explained. Mitchell is also allowed to pursue damages from Baldwin's El Dorado Pictures finance company.
Luke Nikas, Baldwin's attorney, was displeased with the decision. "The Court was required to assume at this stage that Mitchell’s allegations against Alec Baldwin were true — even though they are demonstrably false, made in bad faith, and contradict her own prior statements about what happened," Nikas said.
"We are pleased the Court dismissed some of her claims and look forward to disproving the rest of her case, now that she can no longer shield her misrepresentations from the evidence," he added. However, famed victims' rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Mitchell, celebrated the ruling.
"We are pleased that the trial court’s tentative ruling has overruled Mr. Baldwin’s demurrer and permitted our client, Mamie Mitchell, to continue her lawsuit against Alec Baldwin to recover damages for the personal injuries she sustained," Allred said. "Ms. Mitchell looks forward to her trial and obtaining justice."
The actor already settled with Hutchins' estate for an undisclosed amount in a wrongful death suit for her Oct. 2021 death. Other conditions of the settlement include finishing "Rust."
Matthew Hutchins, the dead woman's widower, is to be the executive producer, while Souza will direct the film. "The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023," Matthew Hutchins said.
"I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work," he added.
Baldwin has filed his own lawsuit against other crew members, the New York Post reported. "This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun," Nikas said in that suit.
"These Cross-Defendants are professionals who owed a duty to those on set, including Baldwin, to keep the set safe. Everyone on set, including Baldwin, expected and trusted them to do so," the lawsuit said, noting Baldwin was painted as a victim who has been "wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy."
What happened on the set of "Rust" should never happen again. Sometimes, that means lawsuits must be paid and, perhaps, people must go to jail.