Judge Rules Part of `Rust’ Script Supervisor’s Suit Needs Clarifications

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A script supervisor who says that she suffered emotional distress from having stood near cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when she was fatally shot with a prop weapon fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the film “Rust” will have to shore up the part of her lawsuit pertaining to two producers, a judge ruled Thursday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker said Mamie Mitchell can file an amended lawsuit within 20 days addressing the deficiencies in her claims against Angul Nigam and Brittany House Pictures for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Mitchell also alleges negligence by the producers, but that cause of action was not part of Thursday’s motion.

On June 2, the judge asked for additional briefing on whether the law of New Mexico, where the accidental shooting occurred, supports Mitchell’s allegation that Nigam and Brittany House were liable for those two causes of action.

On Thursday, the judge said that while Mitchell alleges she suffered emotional distress from the actor “pointing and discharging the gun toward her,” her allegations currently fail to establish that Nigam and Brittany House knew Baldwin would aim and fire the loaded weapon toward the plaintiff so as to make them jointly liable for his actions.

Addressing the assault cause of action, the judge said that Mitchell does not allege she had any fear or apprehension before Baldwin fired the gun. Whitaker also wrote that Mitchell had not shown that the actor, after shooting, engaged in any “unlawful act, threat or menacing conduct” that led her to believe she was in danger of “an immediate battery.”

Nigam was involved in the financing of the film during pre-production and his job was finished before the shooting of “Rust” began last Oct. 6, according to the two producers’ attorneys’ court papers.

Mitchell’s suit was filed Nov. 17, alleging that she was “standing in the line of fire when the gun went off.” She then filed an amended suit on Feb. 8. Baldwin is one of the defendants.

Hutchins, 42, was killed on Oct. 21 while Baldwin, a producer and star of “Rust,” was helping to prepare camera angles for a scene on the film’s set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin fired a weapon which was supposed to contain only blank rounds but discharged a lead bullet that struck Hutchins in the chest then lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, 49.

Mitchell alleges Baldwin, now 64, fired the weapon during the rehearsal “even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm” and that the actor should have assumed the gun was loaded unless it was demonstrated to him or he personally checked to make sure it was unloaded.

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