Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Dave Halls were among those named in Serge Svetnoy’s lawsuit
Halyna Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world when she was hit with a projectile on set that ultimately killed her. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)
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Hutchins was fatally shot, and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun that was held by Baldwin to rehearse a scene fired, discharging a live round. Much speculation has been made in the weeks since the incident about the safety procedures that were in place to prevent such a tragedy, with speculative blame and the police investigation focusing on Gutierrez Reed and Halls, who handled the gun prior to the incident and were tasked with checking it to prevent the exact incident.
According to documents obtained by Fox News, Serge Svetnoy, the key gaffer on the indie-western film, filed a lawsuit against the trio and others claiming the defendants’ alleged negligence has caused him severe emotional distress.
In his lawsuit, Svetnoy says Baldwin “owed a duty” to the plaintiff and other crew members to treat the Colt Revolver he was handed as a loaded weapon. The suit reportedly claims that Baldwin merely needed to aim the weapon toward the camera and not point it at anyone.
Svetnoy also claims in the suit that he was struck by “discharge materials” from the gunshot, with a projectile “narrowly” missing him before it hit Hutchins. He said he “suffered injury, including severe emotional distress, as a direct and proximate result of the incident.”
The suit claims that the shooting happened because of “negligent acts” committed by the defendants, which includes Gutierrez Reed, Halls and prop master Sarah Zachry: “Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Col revolver or to be present anywhere on the ‘Rust’ set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity.”
Svetnoy claimed that “industry standards for custody and control over firearms” were not followed by those involved and slammed the movie for failing to “hire a competent and experienced armorer” or “adequate support crew” for the armorer and not implementing “appropriate safety standards and measures” on the production.
The gaffer previously stated in a Facebook post that he was standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Hutchins the moment the bullet passed through her and lodged in Souza’s shoulder.
“Yes, I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza,” Svetnoy recalled in the October post. “I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands.”
Svetnoy mentioned Baldwin in his post at the time, noting how hard it must have been for him to be responsible for the death of Hutchins, even if it was an accident. However, he also criticized him and the other producers for cutting corners to save costs on “Rust.”
Legal experts who previously spoke with Fox News noted that, although the Sante Fe Sheriff’s Department is still looking into whether criminal charges are warranted in the case, Baldwin’s role as a producer leaves him open to civil liability.
Fox News Digital has reached out to representation for Halls, Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed for comment. Zachry’s representation could not immediately be reached, while “Rust” reps declined to comment.
“Serge should [have] known better; there will be a lot of interesting new reports that are still unknown coming out in the next few days,” said defendant Seth Kenney, who worked with Gutierrez Reed in the past, when reached by Fox News Digital.