Main production company behind Rust will not face central claims in a lawsuit from script supervisor Mamie Mitchell.
A Los Angeles judge on Friday denied assault and willful mental distress charges against Rust Movie Productions, Thomasville Pictures, Ryan Smith and Lengley Cheney, because they had no idea Alec Baldwin was actually going to fire the gun. Killed cameraman Halyna Hutchins.
Since filming, the producers have maintained that they are not responsible for overseeing the production process. They argued in civil court and against a fine assessed by New Mexico’s safety committee that they simply financed the film.
So far, Mitchell has faced an uphill battle in court arguing that the manufacturing companies are responsible for the shooting. She claims they assisted and abetted Baldwin in committing the assault by providing him with the loaded gun the actor fired, detailing the disastrous safety culture on movie studio Rust where producers shirk industry-wide norms regarding the use of guns to shoot movies on tight budgets. In July, Judge Michael Whitaker of LA Superior Court refused to allow assault and mental distress charges against producer Anjul Nigam and his lending company, Brittany House Pictures, because the shooting was “surprise”.
Mitchell’s claims against Rust Movie Productions met a similar fate, according to the tentative ruling handed down by the judge.
“While Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Demurring assisted Baldwin by providing a loaded weapon, Plaintiffs’ allegations do not demonstrate that Bankruptcy Defendants knew Baldwin would aim and fire the weapon. loaded bullets on the Plaintiff so that they are jointly liable for his willful conduct,” he wrote. “In fact, Plaintiffs’ allegations would show that the opposite is true: the only person who knew Baldwin was going to fire a weapon was Baldwin.”
Under New Mexico law, Mitchell must fully allege that the production companies knew Baldwin was going to open fire on Mitchell and that they provided him with substantial support or encouragement to do so. Her lawyers have urged the court to allow the matter to be explored.
During Friday’s hearing, Whitaker refused to budge from his expected verdict. He explained that there is no evidence that Rust Movie Productions “knew that Baldwin would use the gun the way he did by launching it.”
Both parties agreed that the shot did not call for crafting and shooting, but was given to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls instead of director Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of checking that the chambers were empty. – is a violation of industry safety protocols. The protocols also state that guns should be handled as if they were always loaded.
Carlos Hernandez, representing Mitchell, argued that the manufacturers should have anticipated the fatal shooting because they knew the loaded guns were pre-assembled.
“They have that knowledge,” he said. “They were aware of that and facilitated his illegal use in New Mexico. It’s a bit unconventional because of the actual allegations here. They are not typical of aiding and abetting behavior. “
Whitaker replied that the arguments only concern Mitchell’s claims of negligence. He concluded, “The train needs to leave the station. We need to move on with the litigation.”