The family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was shot and killed on the set of Rust in October, has taken the first step toward filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
A Santa Fe, New Mexico, attorney, Kristina Martinez, filed a petition on Wednesday to be appointed as the personal representative of Hutchins’ estate.
Martinez is seeking appointment “solely for the purpose of investigating and pursuing a lawsuit under the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act in the courts of New Mexico,” the filing states.
Hutchins was preparing for a scene in a church building at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, near Santa Fe, when actor Alec Baldwin fired a Colt .45, killing her and injuring the film’s director.
Baldwin has said that he did not pull the trigger, and that the gun went off when he released the hammer. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigators continue to probe how the gun came to be loaded with live ammunition instead of dummy rounds.
Hutchins left behind her husband, Matthew, and a 9-year-old son. They are represented by attorney Brian Panish, of Panish, Shea, Boyle & Ravipudi in Los Angeles.
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Under New Mexico law, the estate has three years from the time of Hutchins’ death to file a wrongful death suit.
Two other Rust crew members, Serge Svetnoy and Mamie Mitchell, have already filed lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court. Both were in close proximity to Baldwin when the gun went off, and Svetnoy has alleged that he was close enough to have gunpowder spray his face and etch his glasses.
Both crew members accused the producers of cutting corners and creating hazardous conditions on set. In a response to Mitchell’s suit on Monday, Baldwin and several of the producers argued that the shooting was a workplace accident, and as such can only be addressed through the New Mexico workers compensation system.
OSHA is also investigating the incident. Rust had an insurance policy with a liability limit of $6 million.
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