Three Rust crew members filed a civil lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers on Friday, claiming that they were left with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder following the 2021 on-set shooting of the movie's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.
The lawsuit filed in Santa Fe by dolly operator Ross Addiego, set costumer Doran Curtin, and key grip Reese Price accuses Baldwin, the El Dorado Pictures production company, and Rust Movie Productions LLC of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“These injuries were caused by Defendants’ failure to follow industry safety rules. Defendants cut comers; ignored reports of multiple, unscripted firearms discharges; and persisted, rushed and understaffed, to finish the film,” the complaint reads.
According to the suit, the crew members were in close range of Baldwin when he pointed the revolver at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza. Prosecutors in New Mexico charged Baldwin in January with two counts of involuntary manslaughter following an investigation into the shooting. He has pleaded not guilty.
The crew members claim in the lawsuit that they suffered “blast injuries” from the “deafening” sound of the gun’s discharge.
Price “felt the physical force of the gunfire in the small space,” the lawsuit reads. “His ears began to ring. He felt as if everything was moving in slow motion. He saw Souza screaming and crawling away from Defendant Baldwin. Desperate and scared, crew members began to yank Plaintiff Price by the shirt and out of the church.”
Addiego, who also “felt the same disorienting sound, force, and physical trauma from the gunshot,” rushed over to Souza and applied pressure on his wound until medics arrived.
Curtin, who saw Hutchins fall to the ground in front of her, tried to help the cinematographer before she was ushered outside, where she collapsed from “the effects of the blast and the shock of the shooting.”
The complaint further states that the crew members were not offered any “meaningful emotional or mental health services” by the producers and had to find their own support.
“Plaintiffs have independently sought support in dealing with their injuries which include, but are not limited to, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit also faults Baldwin and the producers for not following safety protocols on set. New Mexico prosecutors have said that the actor had ignored “the first rule of gun safety” when he pointed the gun at Hutchins.
"Had Baldwin performed the required safety checks with the armorer, ... this tragedy would not have occurred," prosecutors wrote in a probable cause statement. "If Baldwin had not pointed the gun at Hutchins ... this tragedy would not have occurred."
Baldwin did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Jacob G. Vigil, the attorney representing the crew members, said the lawsuit was filed to end the practices that led to Hutchins’s death.
“Production of the gun-heavy western film required an experienced firearms expert and safety-minded leadership. Rust had neither,” Vigil said in a statement. “Instead, producers contracted an inexperienced armorer and set leaders with histories of safety violations.”