LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The prop master in the film “Rust,” a co-defendant in Alec Baldwin’s countersuit regarding the deadly shooting on the set of the Western that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, will remain a defendant in the case for now as a judge has stopped short of dismissing her from the actor’s case on jurisdictional grounds.
What You Need To Know
- Alec Baldwin’s countersuit for negligence and indemnity against prop master Sarah Zachry and three others was filed Nov. 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court
- Also named in Baldwin’s countersuit are armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls and prop supplier Seth Kenney
- A judge has stopped short of dismissing the prop master from the actor’s case on jurisdictional grounds
- According to Sarah Zachry’s attorneys, she has never been a resident of California, nor has she ever lived or worked in California
Baldwin’s countersuit for negligence and indemnity against prop master Sarah Zachry and three others was filed Nov. 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court and stems from an underlying complaint in which script supervisor Mamie Mitchell named Baldwin, 64, and the others as defendants. Baldwin alleges that crew members negligently put live ammunition in the gun that he was holding when it discharged during rehearsal on Oct. 21, 2021, killing the 42-year-old Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, now 49.
Also named in Baldwin’s countersuit are armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls and prop supplier Seth Kenney.
In their court papers, Zachry’s lawyers maintain that their client is a New Mexico resident since birth and is not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the California courts. Although she is named as a defendant in Mitchell’s suit, Zachry has never been served in that case, according to Zachry’s attorneys’ court papers.
In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Michael E. Whitaker said he tended to agree with Zachry’s position.
“Based upon the current record, the court finds Baldwin has not met his burden to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that all personal jurisdictional criteria are met (regarding) Zachry,” the judge wrote.
However, Whitaker gave Baldwin’s attorneys more time to provide evidence that the judge has jurisdiction over Zachry. Whitaker allowed the lawyers to submit more briefing and scheduled another hearing for May 22.
According to Zachry’s attorneys, she has never been a resident of California, nor has she ever lived or worked in California.
“Ms. Zachary has not traveled to California for any purpose related to her hiring or work on the ‘Rust’ production,” Zachry’s attorneys argue in their court papers. “The last time that Ms. Zachary visited California was in 2019 and she has not returned to the state at any time since then.”
All lawsuits and related actions against Zachry filed in California by any party involved in “Rust” are “objectively unreasonable if not frivolous and malicious,” Zachry’s lawyers state in their court papers. “As such, being hailed from New Mexico into Los Angeles County, to defend the underlying complaint and the Baldwin (countersuit), were not reasonably foreseeable under applicable constitutional standards.”
Whitaker this week delayed the start of trial of Mitchell’s underlying suit from May 17 to Feb. 21, 2024, in part because Baldwin has been charged in a separate criminal case with involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death and statements he may make in the civil case could be used against him in the criminal proceedings.