‘Rust’ producers agree to $100K settlement after workplace death

Rust Movie Productions LLC has agreed to a $100,000 settlement with the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau over workplace safety citations that were issued following the on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.

Ms. Hutchins was fatally shot on Oct. 21, 2021, when a live round was shot from a revolver being used as a prop gun by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal on the movie set.

Director Joel Souza was also injured during the incident but survived.

OHSB issued citations against the production company in April 2022, which were subsequently appealed. Settlement negotiations followed.

On Friday, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission publicized the settlement agreement, which states that the production company agreed to an amended penalty of $100,000, which was decreased from the $136,793 in fines that were originally proposed.

As part of the agreement, the company must pay the penalties within 30 days.

The agreement contains a provision stating that agreeing to the fines is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used as evidence in any further civil litigation that may arise from the incident or in the ongoing criminal proceedings tied to the fatality.

When the workplace citations were announced last April, OSHB said that investigators determined that the production company’s management knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on the movie set and that the company “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take correction action.”

The company was issued a willful-serious citation along with the civil penalty, which OSHB said is the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by New Mexico law.  

Meanwhile, three crew members who were working the film set the day of the fatal shooting have filed a new lawsuit against Mr. Baldwin and the movie’s producers over claims that the incident caused them to suffer from anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The suit was filed Friday in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, by attorneys for dolly operator Ross Addiego, set costumer Doran Curtin and key grip Reese Price. 

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