Alec Baldwin Is Sued by 'Rust' Gaffer Serge Svetnoy for Negligence

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed during the fatal incident.

Alec Baldwin is being sued in the wake of the fatal Rust shootingSerge Svetnoy, the chief electrician on the set of Rust, is suing Baldwin, as well as armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director David Halls, and others, over the on-set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

According to court docs obtained by ET, Svetnoy is claiming the defendants' alleged negligence caused him severe emotional distress in the aftermath of the incident, in which Baldwin discharged a gun being used as a prop, leading to Hutchins' death and Souza's injury.

Svetnoy claims the bullet that struck both Hutchins and Souza nearly hit him too, additionally alleging that he was the one who tried to comfort the cinematographer and keep her conscious after she was hit.

"The bullet narrowly missed him before striking the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and its director, Joel Souza. Plaintiff suffered injury, including severe emotional distress, as a direct and proximate result of this incident," the court docs state.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza previously told the media that Halls, Gutierrez-Reed, and Baldwin were the three people who handled the weapon on set, noting that they have all "been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements."

Both Halls and Gutierrez-Reed have released statements through their attorneys, while Baldwin has spoken out publicly, defended the set's working conditions and written about the importance of gun safety on sets.

Mendoza also said that it was "too early" to talk about possible charges being filed. "The investigation will continue and if the Sheriff's Office determines during our investigation that a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed," he said.

Per the docs, the gaffer says that he included Baldwin in his suit because the actor and producer "owed a duty to the Plaintiff and other crew members and actors on the Rust set to handle the Colt Revolver provided to him by defendant Halls with reasonable care and diligence for the safety of Rust cast and crew."

"This duty called for Defendant Baldwin to double-check the Colt Revolver with Halls upon being handled to ensure that it did not contain live ammunition," the docs read. "This duty further called for him [Baldwin] to handle the Colt Revolver as if it was loaded and to refrain from pointing it at anyone."

Additionally, the docs claim that the scene Baldwin was rehearsing at the time of the incident "did not call for Defendant Baldwin to shoot the Colt Revolver."

As for the production side of things, the suit claims that Baldwin and other producers "attempted to save money by hiring an insufficient number of crew members to safely handle the props and firearms," additionally alleging that they declined requests for weapons training days, failed to allow proper time to allow for gunfire, failed to send out safety bulletins and spread the staff too thin.

Per the docs, Svetnoy, who'd known Hutchins for five years and considered her a friend, said that the "traumatic" event is one he "might never be able to get over." He is asking for a jury trial and damages, the docs show.

In a Facebook post last month, Svetnoy accused Gutierrez-Reed and the film's producers of "negligence and unprofessionalism." In the post, Svetnoy wrote that he was "standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life."

"I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands," Svetnoy wrote. "I want to tell my opinion on why this has happened. I think I have the right to do it. It's the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism."

Svetnoy's lawsuit is the first that's come to light in the wake of the shooting. However, Lane Luper, the former camera assistant for Rust, told Good Morning America that he quit the project one day before the fatal incident over "lax COVID policies, the housing situation... and specifically gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day."

Producers of the film disputed Luper's claims to ABC News, calling them "patently false," and noting that "he had absolutely nothing to do with, or knowledge of, safety protocols" on the set.

As for what led to the incident, Luper said that it wasn't just one person, but rather "a perfect storm" of circumstances. 

"A lot of things have to go wrong [for a live round to get on a movie set]," he said. "The very first sentence in the very first safety bulletin about firearm safety is, 'There shall never be live rounds anywhere on a studio lot, or stage, or set.' It's so unheard of."

When it comes to how the live round got on the set, Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed's lawyer, told GMA that discovering that information is "going to be critical" amid the ongoing investigation.

"We know Hannah did not put the live rounds in that box, we know the live rounds shouldn't have been in that box, but they were... There is no purpose for a live round on this set. Zero. Hannah made that clear," he added. "There was no reason for there to be live rounds, she didn't have live rounds, she didn't purchase any of this ammunition. This ammunition was purchased by other people, production. Whoever brought these live rounds on set was wrong, and I think they had a bad intention. That's what we believe."

Baldwin, meanwhile, recently told paparazzi that Hutchins was his "friend."

"The day I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting I took her to dinner with Joel, the director. We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened," he said. "... There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this. This is a one-in-a-trillion episode. It's a one-in-a-trillion event."

The fatal shooting was reportedly not the first time the Rust set was unsafe. Multiple reports noted that, prior to Hutchins' death and Souza's injury, union crew members like Luper walked off set to protest "poor" working conditions. As noted in Gutierrez-Reed's recent statement, there was also an incident that included the misfiring of a gun.