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Alec Baldwin, ‘Rust’ producers say fatal shooting was ‘workplace accident’ in seeking to dismiss lawsuit

The movie's script supervisor should purse her claims through workers compensation, defense attorneys said in their petition to have the civil claim tossed out.
Alec Baldwin appears on NBC's "TODAY" show on April 1, 2019.
Alec Baldwin on NBC's "TODAY" show on April 1, 2019.Tyler Essary / NBC

LOS ANGELES — Alec Baldwin and his fellow "Rust" producers have asked a Los Angeles judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the movie's script supervisor, who claims she was hurt in last year's fatal on-set shooting.

While defense lawyers agreed that the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, on Oct. 21 was a "terrible tragedy," they argued Monday in a filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court that the plaintiff, Mamie Mitchell, should seek relief through a New Mexico workers compensation claim, not in a Los Angeles courtroom.

The defense said Hutchins' death and the wounding of director Joel Souza were the results of a "workplace accident."

Mitchell sued Baldwin and other "Rust" producers, claiming she was standing next to Hutchins when the fatal round struck Hutchins on the movie set in New Mexico. Mitchell suffered “serious physical trauma and shock and injury to her nervous system” because of the fatal incident, her lawsuit said.

Defense attorney Aaron Dyer wrote that Mitchell’s complaint “should be dismissed because her exclusive remedy is New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Act, not a civil action filed in California State Court.”

The defense argued that even if Mitchell’s claims fall outside the New Mexico workers compensation laws, the suit has no merit.

Despite Mitchell’s attempts “to label claims as intentional, nothing about plaintiff’s allegations suggest that any defendants intentionally committed harmful conduct under New Mexico law,” the defense response said.

Mitchell's attorney, Gloria Allred, said the defendants "are trying to avoid explaining their conduct before a judge and a jury in a court of law."

"We intend to vigorously oppose their demurrer, and we believe that we should be allowed to proceed," Allred said in a statement.

The shooting is still being investigated by Santa Fe County sheriff's deputies. Baldwin turned his cellphone over to investigators this month.