CNBC reports that Halyna’s husband, Matthew Hutchins, filed the lawsuit in Santa Fe, New Mexico, claiming that his wife needlessly died because of the negligence of Baldwin, production companies, and others involved with the film. Hutchins alleges that the guns weren’t properly checked, which led to the 42-year-old’s death. Hutchins is seeking unspecific damages, as well as punitive damages.
“Halyna Hutchins deserved to live, and the defendants had the power to prevent her death if they had only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations,” the lawsuit said.
The assistant director, David Halls, told investigators he didn’t look at the rounds in the weapon before handing it to Baldwin. He did have the production’s armor, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, check the weapon. Halls then gave the loaded gun to Baldwin, telling the actor it was safe to use.
After the incident, 500 rounds or so were found around the set, which included blank ammunition, dummy rounds, and live rounds. The film’s director, Joel Souzza, was also injured in his shoulder by a lead projectile.
“The Rust Production involved extensive use of firearms and required an experienced firearms expert with the skill and qualifications to maintain constant vigilance for safety matters … Defendant Gutierrez-Reed was an inexperienced weapons master with only one movie production under her belt, unqualified for the degree of skill required on the Rust set,” the lawsuit alleges.
Both Halls and Gutierrez-Reed have spotty histories, with Halls being previously fired from 2019’s Freedom’s Path when a gun surprisingly discharged and led a crew member to be injured. Gutierrez-Reed has also had complaints lodged against her for not following safety protocols from a film that was shooting just before Rust.
The lawsuit claims that the producers “utilized aggressive cost-cutting practices” that were hazardous to the cast and crew, which include Gutierrez-Reed being given two huge roles on the set of Rust, armorer and assistant prop master; hurrying the production schedule, and employing crew members who weren’t experienced in safety procedures.
During a press conference on Tuesday, attorneys released an animated video depicting the events that led to Hutchins’ death as well as the death itself. Warning: The video is graphic and could be triggering.
“Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies were aware of firearms safety issues that had occurred on the set of Rust and did not take action to correct the situation and ensure that basic gun safety rules were followed on October 21, 2021,” the suitadds. “Had Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies taken adequate precautions to ensure firearm safety on the set of Rust or if basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set of Rust on October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year old son.”
As of now, no one has been charged in Hutchins’ death.