During the filming of the movie Rust in October 2021, actor Alec Baldwin “was holding an antique Colt .45 . . . when the prop gun discharged a live bullet.” The bullet struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza, resulting in the death of Hutchins. While many individuals postulated that other crew members were at fault, on February 15, 2022, the Hutchins family named Baldwin in a wrongful death lawsuit alleging “fail[ure] to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns.” The complaint also argues that but for Baldwin’s reckless behavior, “Hutchins would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year old son.” Requested damages include compensatory damages, punitive damages, and funeral and burial expenses among other things.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on April 4,2022. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Hertz, Pearl, "When Acting Becomes Reality: Determining Liability when a Death Occurs on Set" (2022). AELJ Blog. 318.