Actor Alec Baldwin just suffered a legal blow in the lawsuit that he is facing over the “Rust” shooting.
The legal blow comes from Judge Michael E. Whitaker, who just pushed the lawsuit back to September 28.
Why is this a legal blow?
Because it gives the plaintiff the opportunity to amend her complaint so as to include claims for punitive damages.
What’s going on?
This lawsuit comes from “Rust” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell. She is suing Baldwin and the film’s other producers over the shooting that left the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, dead.
The shooter was Baldwin, himself. He fired what was supposed to be a prop weapon. But, the weapon had real bullets in it, which struck Hutchins. Mitchell, as the script supervisor, was standing right next to Hutchins when the incident happened.
Mitchell, in her lawsuit, is alleging that the shooting was precipitated by a large amount of negligence on the “Rust” movie set in New Mexico. An interesting detail that she alleges is that the part of the script that Baldwin was rehearsing when he shot Hutchins did not even call for the gun to be fired. Mitchell, though, is basing her negligence claim on such things as cost-cutting measures that she says the “Rust” producers took, creating the conditions for the fatal shooting.
Significantly, Judge Whitaker, last month ruled that Mitchell can pursue punitive damages. Then, just this week, Whiteaker pushed the lawsuit date back in order to provide Mitchell the opportunity to include punitive damages in her complaint.
If Mitchell pursues punitive damages and if she ends up winning her case, this can lead to a huge payout.
On the criminal side of things
The big question that many are waiting to have answered is whether Alec Baldwin is going to face criminal charges for the “Rust” shooting. An update was provided this week.
According to reports, New Mexico prosecutors are waiting to see the results of “forensic testing” before deciding whether or not they have sufficient evidence to bring charges against Baldwin.
Also, New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that she is still waiting on a number of other pieces of evidence, including, “FBI firearm and tool mark analyses, forensic testing on the firearm itself, the forensic download from Suffolk County PD of Mr. Baldwin’s phone, and the pathology report from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.”