Ukrainian family of slain 'Rust' filmmaker again sues Alec Baldwin, other producers

"Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' Ukrainian family members have renewed their legal fight against actor Alec Baldwin and other producers following her 2021 death on the set of the low-budget western movie.

Hutchins' mother, Olga Solovey; father, Anatolii Androsovych; and sister Svetlana Zemko — who all live near the Ukranian capital of Kyiv— last week filed a civil negligence lawsuit in Santa Fe, N.M.

The June 5 suit contends Hutchins' death was caused by reckless behavior by producer-star Baldwin as well as the film's producers, production managers and several crew members, who all were named as defendants.

Baldwin was pointing his Colt .45 revolver at Hutchins, 42, who was standing less than four feet away, when the gun discharged, authorities said. Baldwin did not realize the gun's chamber held a live bullet. Film industry protocols forbid real ammunition on sets, and the "Rust" assistant director had announced that the weapon was "cold," meaning that it contained no ammunition.

Hutchins died from her wounds. The film's director, Joel Souza, was injured by the same bullet but survived.

“The fact that live ammunition was allowed on a movie set, that guns and ammunition were left unattended ... and that defendant Baldwin inexplicably pointed and fired a gun at Halyna Hutchins, makes this a case where injury or death was much more than just a possibility — it was a likely result,” Solovey's lawsuit said.

Read more:New Mexico judge denies Alec Baldwin's motion to dismiss criminal case in 'Rust' shooting

The new lawsuit comes a month before Baldwin is scheduled to go to trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in New Mexico's First Judicial District Court. The actor was indicted in January on the single felony charge. He has pleaded not guilty.

Last month, a New Mexico judge rejected Baldwin's attorneys' attempts to have the indictment dismissed. If convicted, the actor faces up to 18 months in prison.

Los Angeles victims rights attorney Gloria Allred filed the new suit on behalf of Hutchins' Eastern European family members.

Allred's other "Rust" client, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, joined the Solovey lawsuit as a plaintiff. Mitchell was just four feet away from Baldwin during the rehearsal on Oct. 21, 2021.

Baldwin, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.

Attorneys representing Rust Movie Productions were not immediately available on Thursday.

Read more:Full coverage: The fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the ‘Rust’ set

Although the accident occurred near Santa Fe, Allred had previously brought the Solovey suit against Baldwin and the "Rust" producers in Los Angeles Superior Court. That lawsuit was recently withdrawn as part of the effort to shift the venue to New Mexico, Allred said.

The switch was prompted after a judge in Los Angeles ruled that some key defendants in the case lacked "minimum contacts" in California, Allred said, which made it virtually impossible to litigate the case against those defendants in California.

The attorney did not specify which defendants would have been excluded if the case had proceeded in California. Allred did say that Baldwin was not among them. Baldwin's production company, El Dorado Pictures, is based in California.

A separate wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, on behalf of their son, Andros, was settled in late 2022.

As part of that settlement, Matthew Hutchins became an executive producer of the movie "Rust," which was completed last year in Montana. The monetary amount of the settlement with him has not been disclosed.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin faces a July trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2021 shooting death of Halyna Hutchins. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

A native of Ukraine, Hutchins moved to the U.S. to pursue her film career, which was taking off at the time of the accident.

She was a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory, and had been selected as one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars two years before her death.

Her European family members have said they've been gutted by the loss of Halyna Hutchins. Solovey, her mother, testified during an April court hearing that life had been "extremely difficult" since they received the traumatic call from Matthew Hutchins to say that she had died after being shot on the movie set.

Read more:'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez sentenced to 18 months in prison

There have been multiple negligence lawsuits stemming from the tragedy, including by others who witnessed the shooting as they gathered in a wooden church at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Solovey, Androsovych and Zemko's civil suit names as defendants Rust Movie Productions LLC; Baldwin's El Dorado Pictures; producers Ryan Donnell Smith and Langley Allen Cheney and their Thomasville Pictures LLC; producers Anjul Nigam, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Matthew Delpiano and Emily Salveson; and line producers with 3rd Shift Media in Georgia.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez, who has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and assistant producer David Halls, who pleaded no contest to negligent use of a weapon, were included as defendants in the suit.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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