'Rust' Assistant Director Takes Aim at Alec Baldwin Countersuit

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - 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 is asking a judge to dismiss two of the three claims the actor has filed against him in a countersuit.

David Halls' motion, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, is the latest piece of litigation in the ongoing legal fallout from the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting and comes the same month he filed his own litigation against the 64-year-old Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, prop master Sarah Zachry and Seth Kenney and his company, PDQ Arm & Prop, which supplied prop weapons and ammunition to the production.

All of the latest litigation stems from an underlying complaint by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who sued Baldwin and other crew members alleging she suffered emotional distress from being so close to the shooting.

Baldwin himself had filed a countersuit for negligence and indemnity against Halls, Zachry, Kenney and Kenney's company on Nov. 14. Baldwin alleges that crew members negligently put live ammunition in the gun that he was holding when it discharged during rehearsal, killing the 42-year-old Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, now 49.

Halls' motion asks that Baldwin's claims against him for equitable indemnification and contribution be stricken. Baldwin also is countersuing Halls for negligence, but that cause of action is not part of Halls' motion.

Halls' lawyers maintain in their court papers that Baldwin is not liable to Mitchell on any basis and that therefore the cause of action for indemnification should be dismissed.

"Without any factual allegations of any potential liability on the part of Baldwin ...  there is nothing for Halls to indemnify him for," Halls' lawyers argue in their court papers.

Insofar as the contribution cause of action, Halls' lawyers state in their court papers that the law requires that a money judgment be rendered against two or more defendants and that a judgment has been paid, neither of which has occurred in the litigation.

In a separate motion, Halls' lawyers ask that portions of Baldwin's litigation be stricken, including his demand for punitive damages against Halls.

"There are no allegations ... that Halls intentionally brought live ammunition to the set, that he intentionally loaded the gun with any live ammunition of any type, that he objectively knew the gun was loaded with live ammunition prior to the incident or that he intentionally failed to check the gun," Halls lawyers argue in their court papers.

A hearing on Halls' motions is scheduled for Feb. 9 before Judge Michael E. Whitaker.

In his own countersuit, Halls denies any liability, but asks that the parties he is suing be required to pay any damages assessed against him above any comparative fault he may be found to have in the case. Halls also alleges still unidentified "Roe" defendants breached a contract to insure him against liability in the case.

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