Lawyer defends ‘Rust’ crew member lawsuit

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation Now) — The lawyer for the crew member suing Alec Baldwin and several others connected with the “Rust” set shooting defended the lawsuit after NewsNation host Dan Abrams expressed concerns about the claim.

“It feels like it’s on the fringe of being a frivolous lawsuit,” said Abrams, whose media career has focused on legal issues. He expressed concerns about why someone who wasn’t physically injured was the first person to file a lawsuit stemming from the Oct. 21 shooting, which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured “Rust” director Joel Souza.

The head of lighting on the film filed the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging negligence that caused him “severe emotional distress” that will haunt him forever.

Serge Svetnoy said in the suit that Hutchins was a close friend, and that the bullet that killed her narrowly missed him.

Serge Svetnoy, right, chief of lighting on the “Rust” film set, takes questions from the media after his attorney Gary Dordick, left, announced a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Svetnoy filed the lawsuit over Baldwin’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western, alleging negligence that caused him “severe emotional distress” that will haunt him forever. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

“Mr. Svetnoy is one of the three that was in the zone of danger, had a close relationship, suffered some physical injury and emotional distress so the law gives him the right to sue,” attorney Gary A. Dordick said on Dan Abrams Live. “The emotional distress is significant.”

Svetnoy said he held Hutchins’ head as she died.

“His dear good friend of many years has a bullet in her,” Dordick said. “She’s bleeding in his arms, bleeding on his hands, and he holds her while she lies dying, talking to her, trying to keep her alive. That damage is compensable in California.”

Baldwin, who was both star and a producer of the movie, David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun, and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set, are among those named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, alleges that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun at all, only to point it. The suit also claims Baldwin owed the duty to the plaintiff and other crew members on the set to double check.

Abrams questioned where that was true after previously speaking with armorers about the process on the show.

The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages to be determined later.

“We’re not in it for the money,” Dordick said. “I intend to bring about a change. Mr. Svetnoy is helping me and between us we will bring about a change.”

Attorneys and representatives for the defendants did not immediately respond to email and phone messages from the Associated Press seeking comment on the suit Wednesday.

A photo of Serge Svetnoy, left, and Halyna Hutchins is displayed after a news conference with attorney Gary Dordick and his client Serge Svetnoy, chief of lighting on the “Rust’ film set, to announce a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Svetnoy filed the lawsuit over Baldwin’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western, alleging negligence that caused him “severe emotional distress” that will haunt him forever. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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