Lawyers representing Alec Baldwin and other producers from the Rust movie production filed a motion on Monday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor who was feet away and the first to call 911 when the actor fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
Mitchell filed the lawsuit in California back in November and alleges Defendants “intentionally committed assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”), and deliberate infliction of harm.”
Monday’s filings are a Demurrer, which tests the legal sufficiency of the opposing party’s pleading, and argues the “[Mitchell] alleges facts suggestive of negligence (i.e., a claim exclusively subject to New Mexico’s workers’ compensation system), not assault.”
The reason for this strategy reflects New Mexico’s workers’ compensation law, where workplace injury claims are barred by exclusionary provisions, meaning the employer is immune to a civil suit in an unintentional workplace accident.
The Demurrer alleges Mitchell attempted to circumvent New Mexico’s worker’s compensation laws by asserting three intentional causes of action: assault, IIED, and deliberate infliction of harm. Under New Mexico law, if a worker is harmed by deliberate action, the employer loses immunity to civil suits. It alleges such a conclusory statement is not sufficient to meet the pleading burden.
“Nothing about Plaintiff’s allegations suggest that any of Defendants, including Mr. Baldwin, intended the Prop Gun to be loaded with live ammunition,” they wrote. “Moreover, nothing about Plaintiff’s allegations suggests any of the Defendants knew the Prop Gun contained live ammunition.”
They also argue that Mitchell fails to allege intentional and “extreme and outrageous conduct” required for IIED.
“Plaintiff’s faulty comparison of this accident to Russian Roulette is a perfect illustration of the distinction between Plaintiff’s allegations and intentional conduct. She claims, “Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun without checking it and without having the Armorer do so.” (Compl. 5:6-7). “Russian Roulette,” however, is intentionally firing a gun that is known to be loaded with a single live round – not failing to double-check a gun that has been announced to be cold.”
Finally, they argue the absence of safety measures does not demonstrate intent by the defendant.
Hutchins’ estate has yet to file suit, though her husband has hired attorney Brian Panish. Souza also has not filed a lawsuit.