Attorneys urge judge to keep Baldwin in ‘Rust’ suit

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Lawyers for the script supervisor for the film “Rust” have responded to a renewed motion by attorneys for Alec Baldwin and his production company seeking to dismiss the portions of the plaintiff’s suit against their clients, arguing in new court papers that the actor’s liability is obvious.

Plaintiff Mamie Mitchell was standing nearby when Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza, last Oct. 21 in a replica church on the “Rust” movie set in New Mexico, according to Mitchell’s suit, which alleges she suffered physical and emotional damages.

What You Need To Know

  • Plaintiff Mamie Mitchell was standing nearby when Alec Baldwin accidentally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza
  • Mitchell’s attorneys have conceded that her claim for deliberate infliction of harm can be dismissed
  • Lawyers for Mitchell have responded to a renewed motion by attorneys for Alec Baldwin and his production company seeking to dismiss the portions of the plaintiff’s suit against their clients
  • A hearing on the renewed dismissal motion is scheduled June 21 before Judge Michael E. Whitaker

“As an actor, Baldwin is liable for (Mitchell’s) damages because he intentionally and without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun towards Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza that caused (Mitchell’s) injuries…,” the script supervisor’s lawyers state in their court papers filed Wednesday.

Mitchell’s attorneys have conceded that her claim for deliberate infliction of harm can be dismissed, based on an earlier ruling in the case involving other producers. Mitchell lives in New Mexico and the events occurred in that state, which does not recognize such a cause of action, the Baldwin/El Dorado lawyers state in their court papers.

Attorneys for Baldwin and El Dorado Pictures initially filed court papers in January asking that Mitchell’s original suit filed Nov. 17 be dismissed, but a hearing on that motion never took place because the plaintiff filed an amended complaint on Feb. 8, alleging assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and the deliberate infliction of harm claim her lawyers now concede can be dismissed.

On May 27, the Baldwin/El Dorado attorneys filed a new motion to have Mitchell’s amended complaint tossed, stating she has no viable claims and that the complaint cannot be saved with another revised suit.

“Her causes of action … all suffer a fatal flaw: Mitchell fails to sufficiently allege facts to support her assertion that the Baldwin defendants’ conduct was intentional or deliberate,” the Baldwin/El Dorado lawyers argue in their court papers. “And her own allegations refute her contention that the events on the `Rust’ set were anything but accidental.”

New Mexico law also severely limits the circumstances in which a plaintiff can recover for negligently inflicted emotional injuries and Mitchell fails to satisfy any of them, according to the Baldwin/El Dorado attorneys’ court papers.

However, Mitchell’s lawyers challenge that assertion.

“Baldwin cocked and fired the loaded firearm even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking or firing of a firearm and even though protocol was not to do so,” the Mitchell lawyers state in their court papers. “As an industry veteran, Baldwin knew guns on set are inherently dangerous and, at all times, are to be treat as though loaded.”

Despite knowing he had an inherently dangerous firearm in his hands, Baldwin, in violation of all industry-wide bulletins for use of firearms, intentionally shot a loaded gun — without checking to see if it was loaded — at Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza, who were less than 4 feet away from him at the time, according to Mitchell’s lawyers’ court papers.

“Baldwin’s conduct was carried out with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others, including of Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza,” the Mitchell attorneys argue in their court papers.

For Mitchell, the gunshot came “suddenly and without warning,” caused her to hear and feel a “shocking and deafening sound” that was “unlike anything she had ever heard,” according to her attorneys’ court papers.

Mitchell was “terrified and feared for her life, “ heard moaning and then “witnessed the horror of what had occurred,” according to her attorneys’ court papers.

“Plaintiff saw Souza doubled over,” Mitchell’s lawyers state in their court papers. “Plaintiff understood that he had been shot. Plaintiff then turned her head and saw Hutchins on the ground, not moving. It was then that plaintiff knew that both Hutchins and Souza had been shot by the gun that Baldwin had taken out of the holster, pointed in their direction and discharged.”

A hearing on the renewed dismissal motion is scheduled June 21 before Judge Michael E. Whitaker.