Ukrainian relatives of a slain cinematographer are seeking damages in her death from actor Alec Baldwin in connection with a fatal shooting on the set of a Western movie, under a civil lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles.
The new lawsuit against Baldwin was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Hutchins’ parents and younger sister, who works as a nurse on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv and is married to a Ukrainian man fighting in the war against Russia.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during a rehearsal in the movie “Rust” in October 2021 at a film-set ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when it discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
The new lawsuit alleges negligence and the depravation of benefits, based on the emotional or financial support that Hutchins previously provided to younger sister Svetlana Zemko and parents Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych. The lawsuit also names as defendants a long list of “Rust” crew members, an ammunition supplier, producers of the film and affiliated businesses.
Separately, Baldwin and weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are confronting felony criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter in New Mexico District Court, with a remote first appearance scheduled later this month in which pleas may be entered. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have vowed to dispute the charges, while an assistant director has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.
Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred described Zemko as a working emergency operating-room nurse who is raising an infant and 4-year-old child while her husband fights in the war.
At a news conference, Allred said that Zemko “had a very close and loving relationship with her big sister, Halyna, and she feels strongly that anyone who is responsible for her loss must be held accountable.”
Contacted Thursday, an attorney for Baldwin in New Mexico had no immediate comment.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as legal costs. Allred declined to quantify possible demands.
Matthew Hutchins, widower to Halyna Hutchins, reached an undisclosed settlement with Baldwin and other producers of Rust late last year. Part of the settlement calls for Matthew to be a producer on “Rust” as it potentially resumes filming.
Baldwin has sought to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun. Baldwin, also a co-producer on “Rust,” said he was told the gun was safe.
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in her direction and pulled back and released the hammer of the weapon, which discharged.
The new lawsuit against Baldwin, though filed in California, relies on provisions of New Mexico state law regarding the depravation of benefits, also known as “loss of consortium.”
By Morgan Lee
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS