As the actor who pulled the gun's trigger while filming a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he's distraught over the tragic accident and cooperating with police, but as one of the film's top producers, he's facing serious insurance liability.
His production company, El Dorado Pictures, "develops scripted and unscripted projects" and was producing the upcoming Western film.
Fox Business spoke with personal injury attorney Christa Ramey (who is not working on the case) about the incident. "You would be suing Alec Baldwin's production company and its insurance company will defend. Alec Baldwin, the actor, will not be personally responsible for anything," she said.
"Baldwin and his production company would be sued for wrongful death, the loss of life for the cinematographer, and personal injury for the director that was injured. The bystanders typically don't have bystander claims. You have to be physically injured in order to get a claim for emotional distress, which would include PTSD," Ramey explained.
She clarified, "You have to be physically injured or have a close familial relationship with the person that's injured. So it is likely true that [the extras and crew] have suffered PTSD. There might be workers compensation claims available to them under New Mexico law but not in civil liability."
Ramey said as one of the film's producers, Baldwin was "acting as an employer" and could be held responsible for the alleged unsafe working conditions on "Rust" that led to the fatal shooting.
"These safety complaints should have made their way up the food chain to as high as Alec Baldwin, then he could be potentially criminally responsible," she said.
It would be Baldwin's responsibility to know of and address the alleged complaints and make improvements for the cast and drew. "The standard in that regard is knew or should have known. So you should have [as the producer] policies that are in place where that information gets to the right person. So it gets fixed, period," Ramey said.
Personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio not working on the case told Fox Business, "It really comes down to the civil liability. And that's where Alec Baldwin faces quite a bit of responsibility, not really as an actor, but as a producer."
"There's just a lot of information that's coming out alleging the set was in chaos, that there was a lot of crew members that were leaving because of bad working conditions and bad pay. And there are questions as to the two how experienced the armorer was. There's also the assistant director, Dave Halls. He was fired back in 2019 on a film over safety concerns. So, it begs the question of what kind of hiring decisions did the film producers make? I know it was a low-budget film, and when it's a low-budget film, companies will try to cut corners. Safety is never, never an area where people should cut corners on," he said.
Custodio said a future lost earnings claim will most likely be filed as well for Hutchins and Souza. "We bring in economists to determine the future lost earnings of a particular person," he explained.
And while insurance companies are not quick to write settlement checks, "the evidence is mounting for sure."