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‘Rust’ movie crew member sues Alec Baldwin and others involved with production after fatal film set shooting

<i>Damian Dovarganes/AP</i><br/>'Rust' movie crew member have filed a lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin and others involved with production after the fatal film set shooting. Attorney Gary Dordick (left) speaks alongside his client Serge Svetnoy.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
'Rust' movie crew member have filed a lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin and others involved with production after the fatal film set shooting. Attorney Gary Dordick (left) speaks alongside his client Serge Svetnoy.

By Cheri Mossburg and Alexandra Meeks, CNN

“Rust” movie crew member Serge Svetnoy has filed a lawsuit against several key figures including Alec Baldwin at the center of the fatal on-set shooting that claimed the life of the film’s cinematographer.

Svetnoy’s lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles against various companies and individuals involved with the film, including producers and two crew members. It accuses Baldwin, assistant director David Halls, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and other defendants of negligence that caused him “severe emotional distress.”

The lawsuit comes after Baldwin fired a weapon during rehearsal last month that contained a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin had said he believed the gun did not have live rounds in it, according to court documents.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Souza, 48, suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and is recovering.

Svetnoy, who served as the chief lighting technician on set, was struck by “discharge materials” from the fatal blast, noting he was narrowly missed by the bullet, according to the lawsuit. He blames the film’s producers for, among other things, failing to hire a competent and experienced armorer.

“Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver or to be present anywhere on the Rust set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity,” the lawsuit states, claiming a failure to “implement and maintain industry standards for custody and control over firearms used on set.”

The lawsuit accuses the film’s producers of breaching their duties by allowing real ammunition to be stored on set.

“Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on such information and belief alleges that the ammunition used on the ‘Rust’ set was never stored securely and was simply left unattended in the prop truck,” the lawsuit states.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Baldwin, Halls and Gutierrez Reed, as well as the “Rust” movie production company but did not immediately hear back.

Gutierrez Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, released a statement Wednesday, questioning how live rounds ended up in the “dummies” box, and who put them in there.

“We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed,” Bowles said. “We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.”

Previously, Rust Movie Productions LLC said, “The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down.”

According to the lawsuit, Svetnoy and Hutchins were considered “close friends,” having worked on nine films together since 2017.

Svetnoy has previously spoke of his trauma from the incident, posting on Facebook that he “was holding her in my arms while she was dying,” and “her blood was on my hands.” He also shared on Facebook what he called the last photo of Hutchins on the film set in New Mexico.

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CNN’s Jenn Selva contributed to this report.

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