Last month’s tragedy on the set of Rust has now resulted in a lawsuit filed against several key members of the production, marking the first of what could be many to come. Per TMZ, key gaffer Serge Svetnoy has just filed a suit against actor and producer Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls, among others, over the deadly incident. Svetnoy alleges that the negligence of the filmmakers resulted in the accident, which caused him “severe emotional distress.”
While rehearsing a scene for the movie, Alec Baldwin was given a firearm which he was told by Halls was a “cold gun,” meaning it was safe to use. According to police, the prop had in fact been loaded with at least one “live round” which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer says that the guns were left unattended for a period of about two hours and has alleged that someone may have tampered with the bullets. In any case, police are still investigating the origin of the live rounds and how they wound up in the prop gun.
Serge Svetnoy is suing because he was a witness to the incident. In the court docs, he says the bullet zoomed close by and nearly hit him as well. The crew member also claims he was among the first people to tend to Hutchins after she was shot, hoping to help comfort her and keep her conscious until paramedics arrived. Hutchins was rushed to a local hospital by air but died soon after; director Joel Souza was treated and released.
While Alec Baldwin may have believed the gun to be safe, Svetnoy alleges in his suit that the actor still “owed a duty to Plaintiff and other crew members and actors on the Rust set to handle the Colt revolver provided to him by defendant Halls with reasonable care and diligence for the safety of Rust cast and crew. … This duty for Defendant Baldwin to double check the Colt revolver with Hall upon being handled to ensure that it did not contain live ammunition. This duty further called for [Baldwin] to handle the Colt revolver as if it was loaded and to refrain from pointing it at anyone.”
Svetnoy is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial. He claims that he may never be able to get over the “utter mental anguish” of witnessing the death of Halyna Hutchins, someone he describes as a good friend he’s known for five years. Alec Baldwin has also called Hutchins in a friend while recently addressing the incident, and has since suggested hiring police officers to monitor firearm safety on movie sets moving forward.
Other lawsuits seem to be imminent. Making matters worse, a crew member hired to help break down the set following the Rust tragedy was bitten by a brown recluse spider, resulting in a horrific injury to his arm that might result in amputation. The man will reportedly seek workers’ compensation for the bite as it happened on the set of Rust. News of the first lawsuit getting filed was first published by TMZ.