HomeNewsAlec Baldwin: Legal Experts Weigh In on ‘Rust’ Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Alec Baldwin: Legal Experts Weigh In on ‘Rust’ Wrongful Death Lawsuit

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Legal experts don’t expect that Alec Baldwin will appear in court over the shooting death on the set of Rust. Though, that doesn’t mean he won’t face consequences.

The family of Halyna Hutchins is suing the 63-year-old actor for wrongful death after the gun he was holding discharged and killed her on the film set last year. Police in Santa Fe, New Mexico, are still investigating how a live round ended up on the movie set.

Lawyer Rachel Fiset, a managing partner at the law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, believes that it’s “almost inescapable” that Baldwin will face some punishment from the Oct. 21 shooting. If not legally, then professionally.

Alec Baldwin is inseparable from this incident on the set of Rust,” Fiset, who isn’t part of the case, told Fox News. “Not only was he the shooter and the closest association with the ‘cause’ of her ‘wrongful death,’ but he is also a big-name producer. … It is almost inescapable that any negligence or recklessness shown on the set will be tied to him.”

Hutchins’ family is asking that Alec Baldwin pay for her funeral and burial costs, as well as an undisclosed amount in punitive damages.

Most civil cases don’t end up going to trial. Though a judge would likely hold any liability suit until police finish their investigation, several attorneys told Fox.

Attorney Lara Yeretsian, who is also not part of the lawsuit, said Baldwin may benefit from a fast settlement.

“The best thing that Alec Baldwin’s lawyers can do for him is to very swiftly settle this case,” Yeretsian told Fox News. “… Alec Baldwin’s public image would benefit from a quick settlement.”

Lawyer: Alec Baldwin Was Not ‘Reckless’ In Shooting

The lead attorney for the Hutchins family said her death could have been avoided but for “reckless behavior and cost-cutting.”

But Baldwin’s attorney Aaron Dyer pushed back against those claims. He said the blame should fall on the armorer and assistant director. They reportedly checked the weapon and told the actor it was a “cold gun,” meaning there was no ammunition in the chambers.

“This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone,” Dyer said in a statement. “Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use.”

It will be up to the legal system to decide who is ultimately to blame. One of the Hutchins’ family attorneys said they just want answers.

“What’s happened since this tragedy is that everyone is pointing the finger at someone else. We want to get to the bottom of this. Matt and his son Andros want to know who is responsible,” Randi McGinn told BuzzFeed News. “The truth is there are about a dozen people who if they had done their jobs correctly, this would not have happened.”