A judge has indicated he is poised to dismiss portions of a script supervisor’s allegations against the assistant director who allegedly handed Alec Baldwin the prop weapon that discharged and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021, but not the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Whitaker issued a tentative ruling Monday in which he said he was leaning toward dismissing Mamie Mitchell’s claims against David Halls for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, saying that the former claim was not contested by Mitchell’s attorneys in their court papers and that the latter allegation was not addressed in those same court papers.
Addressing his tentative decision to not grant Halls’ attorneys’ request to strike Mitchell’s punitive damages claim against the assistant director, the judge said the plaintiff’s lawyers had demonstrated “alleged despicable conduct carried out by (Halls) with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.”
However, Whitaker said he is inclined to strike Mitchell’s claims for civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and pre-judgment interest. The judge was scheduled to hear arguments later Tuesday before issuing a final ruling.
Mitchell also alleges Halls was negligent and that she was standing adjacent to Hutchins, 42, when the woman was killed Oct. 21, 2021, while Baldwin, a producer and star of “Rust,” was helping to prepare camera angles for a scene on the film’s set near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin fired a weapon that was supposed to contain only blank rounds but discharged a lead bullet that struck Hutchins in the chest then lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, now 49.
Mitchell’s suit, originally filed last Nov. 17, names multiple defendants, including Baldwin and Halls. She alleges she suffered physical and emotional damages.