'Rust' on-set medic files lawsuit against movie producers and crew members

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“Rust” key medic Cheryln Schaefer has filed a lawsuit against the movie’s producers as well as several crew members, claiming she can no longer work following her experience on the movie set.

Assistant Director Dave Halls, property master Sarah Zachry, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and firearm supplier Seth Kenney have all been named in the suit, alongside Rust Movie Productions, LLC, and the location that production was being filmed on, Bonanza Creek Ranch.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in Santa Fe County late last week, Schaefer alleges that “Gutierrez Reed loaded the revolver with the round containing the bullet that killed [cinematographer] Halyna Hutchins.”

Furthermore, the suit claims “Zachry assisted Hannah Gutierrez Reed in handling the revolver prior to the rehearsal.”

Aligning with other accounts of the incident, the lawsuit claims that Gutierrez Reed handed the loaded gun to Halls, who openly declared the weapon was “cold,” meaning he believed it contained no ammunition. The assistant director then handed the gun to actor Alec Baldwin, per the suit. Baldwin is not named as a defendant in this lawsuit.   

Producers and crew members for the movie ‘Rust’ are facing a new lawsuit from the production’s key medic.

The suit dove into Kenney’s recent background, claiming that he and Gutierrez Reed’s father Thell Reed has recently worked together on a film. The suit alleged that Thell provided Kenney with “reloaded rounds” or “live rounds that are created using empty casings.”

According to the docs, Thell requested that Kenney return the rounds, but that Kenney “retained possession” of the ammunition. 

The reloaded rounds had Starline Brass branding on them, the suit stated, claiming that Starline Brass “does not manufacture live rounds.” Additionally, the suit claimed that “the round that struck Halyna Hutchins was a reloaded round.”

“Prior to the rehearsal where Halyna Hutchins was shot, Hannah Gutierrez Reed loaded the revolver with dummy rounds and at least one round of live ammunition,” read the suit, which pointed out that dummy rounds will make a sound when shaken, as they contained “one or more BBs.”

A firearm was discharged on the set of the film, resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
(Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)

“Hannah Gutierrez Reed knew or should have known how to distinguish a live round from a dummy round. Hannah Gutierrez Reed knew or should have known she was loading a live round of ammunition into the revolver,” said the suit, echoing that Zachry and Halls “knew or should have known” a similar difference.

“Prior to the shooting, Sarah Zachry and Hannah [Gutierrez Reed] mixed rounds of ammunition from different boxes together and transported the mixed ammunition loose in fanny packs,” claimed the suit.

Furthermore, the suit names Shannon Hughes, a representative for Bonanza Creek Ranch, for allegedly not properly enforcing the ranch’s rules, which ban explosives and personal firearms.

The suit claimed that Hughes was present for “the majority of the time ‘Rust’ was being filmed” and allegedly “routinely objected to Rust Movie Productions, LLC’s and its employees’ and agents’ non-compliance with the Ranch’s rules, including driving on non-designated roads and speeding.”

Bonanza Creek Ranch, the location of the shooting, was named as a defendant in the suit, as was its rep Shannon Hughes.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Hughes “never” objected to the “obvious non-compliance with the Ranch’s firearms rules” on set, alleged the suit.

“In fact, despite her actual knowledge of the prohibited and unsafe use of firearms on the Ranch premises, defendant Shannon Hughes never intervened to stop the dangerous and unsafe events from taking place on the Ranch’s real property.”

“Cherlyn Schaefer has suffered tremendous shock, trauma, and severe emotional distress as a result of the actions and inaction of all Defendants,” said the suit, which detailed Schaefer’s medical response to the shooting. “… Cheryln Shaefer’s trauma dn severe emotional distress has affected all aspects of her life and has medically prevented her from returning to her chosen profession.”

In addition to losing earnings, the suit said Shaefer now suffers “mental health medical expenses, emotional trauma and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life” as she undergoes treatment from “therapists and others.”

Star Alec Baldwin was holding the gun that discharged.
(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

The suit formally alleged misrepresentation, prima facie tort and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Rust Movie Productions, Halls, Zachry, Gutierrez Reed and Kenney, while Hughes and Bonanza Creek Ranch were hit with accusations of premises liability.

Other counts mentioned in the suit include negligence and negligence per see, intentional spoliation of evidence, negligent entrustment of chattel, negligent hiring, training and supervision and more.

A six-person jury has been requested by the plaintiff to address the case.

Kenney, attorneys for Halls, Zachry and Gutierrez Reed and reps for “Rust” did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment, nor did reps for the ranch.

Zachry’s attorney William Waggoner told TMZ that his client “did nothing wrong” and did not load the gun or handle the gun the day of the shooting.

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