The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot and killed on the set of the Western film “Rust,” has settled a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and several other individuals and companies attached to the production. The deal will result in husband Matthew Hutchins acting as the film’s new executive producer.
“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement provided to Law&Crime through his attorney Brian Panish. “As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed.”
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board, in January 2023,” Matthew Hutchins continued. “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, told Law&Crime that the parties agreed upon a specific point of focus as they worked toward a settlement.
“Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” Nikas said in a statement. “We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
The precise terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed. Formal documents memorializing the settlement have not yet been filed, a spokesperson for New Mexico’s Administrative Office of the Courts told Law&Crime on Wednesday.
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured when a gun held by Baldwin discharged on the set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Oct. 21, 2021.
Souza told NBC News that he was returning to “Rust” with the blessing of Matthew Hutchins to conclude work on the film.
“Those of us who were lucky enough to have spent time with Halyna knew her to be exceedingly talented, kind, creative, and a source of incredible positive energy,” Souza reportedly said in a statement to NBC. “I only wish the world had gotten to know her under different circumstances, as it surely would have through her amazing work.”
“Though certainly bittersweet, I am pleased that together, we will now complete what Halyna and I started,” the director continued. “My every effort on this film will be devoted to honoring Halyna’s legacy and making her proud. It is a privilege to see this through on her behalf.”
The family of Halyna Hutchins took initial steps toward filing the now-settled civil lawsuit in late January 2022. As Law&Crime reported at the time, a lawyer connected to the family filed paperwork to be appointed as a personal representative of the cinematographer’s estate under New Mexico’s Wrongful Death Act.
“The Wrongful Death Act requires appointment of a personal representative for purposes of investigating and bringing suit,” the preliminary paperwork pointed out. It noted that Hutchins “has two, surviving immediate family members: her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their minor son, Aldous Hutchins, both of whom support this Petition.”
Law&Crime explained the legal necessity of the personal representative’s filing in a January report and also detailed what would almost certainly happen to the proceeds of any settlement — assuming money or property interests changed hands:
New Mexico’s laws surrounding wrongful death cases are unique among the states. Wrongful death cases in the Land of Enchantment are separate and distinct from probate cases (which involve wills or, in the absence of a will, intestate succession rules). A personal representative who is usually also an attorney — here, Martinez, if approved — would be tasked with dividing any proceeds flowing from the wrongful death itself (e.g., from a civil lawsuit) to beneficiaries who are designated under state statutes. New Mexico’s wrongful death rules operate independently from wills or intestate succession procedures. Even if a decedent in a wrongful death case has a will, the wrongful death statues override it. In Hutchins’ case, the statute dictates that her husband and her son would equally receive any proceeds of any civil lawsuit that may be filed.
A few weeks later, on Feb. 15, 2022, the contemplated lawsuit was filed. The named defendants were Alec Baldwin, Rust Movie Productions LLC, and a laundry list of other individuals and corporations connected to the film. The plaintiffs were Matthew Hutchins, Andros Hutchins, and the the personal representative for Halyna Hutchins, deceased. The lawsuit alleged two causes of action: (1) wrongful death as a result of negligent, intentional, willful, or reckless misconduct and (2) loss of consortium.
Prosecutors in late September asked for additional money should criminal charges be filed in connection with the matter. First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies requested $635,000 in emergency funds to continue a criminal probe into the deadly shooting; she suggested that her office would “potentially” be “charging between one and four people” with “some variation of our homicide statute.” Carmack-Altwies referred to Baldwin as “[o]ne of the possible defendants.”
Baldwin has said he was “fanning” the revolver when it suddenly fired during a rehearsal.
A full copy of the now-settled Feb. 15, 2022 lawsuit is below:
This report, which began as a developing story, has been updated since its initial publication to contain additional background.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]