Halyna Hutchins‘ family is almost certainly gearing up for a wrongful death lawsuit — in the wake of her death on the set of the movie “Rust” — and TMZ has learned the insurance policy that covered the production is limited to $6 million.
We obtained the certificate of insurance written by Front Row Insurance Brokers. General liability coverage is limited to $1 million per occurrence. There is also a commercial umbrella policy — which is a supplement to the general liability coverage — for an additional $5 million.
The production company filed a permit for the film, and the paperwork shows a $1 million policy, but that appears to be the minimum required for shooting in New Mexico. The production company obtained the umbrella, which is quite typical but not referenced in the permit.
It sounds like a lot of money, but it could be woefully inadequate. 42-year-old Hutchins was a rising star with decades of earnings ahead of her. She was also a mother and a wife, which allows her son and husband to collect for loss of affection. And remember, director Joel Souza was also shot and wounded, and he would have a personal injury claim. The total the insurance company would pay for both Hutchins and Souza is limited to $6 mil.
There’s a wild card here … punitive damages. In New Mexico, if there’s proof of recklessness or wanton misconduct, a jury could award punitive damages, and that could send any judgment into the stratosphere.
It seems obvious there was serious negligence on the set, to say the least. A real gun was used, something gun experts on movie sets say is a clear violation. The gun fired off a fatal live round of ammunition, and live rounds should never be on a movie set. And, the area in the line of fire should have been cleared of people, which it was not.
And, there’s more. The gun in question clearly was not adequately inspected before it was handed over to Alec Baldwin. And, as we reported several days ago, some members of the crew were using that gun for target practice — with real bullets. And, someone may have been doing just that hours before the shooting on the set.
There’s another issue … Front Row would not discuss the terms of the policy with us, but typically there are numerous requirements insurance companies impose and violations of those requirements could allow the company to deny coverage. For instance, given this was a policy to cover a western with various gun scenes, there may be an exclusion if there was live ammo on the set.
Hutchin’s family and Souza will almost certainly sue individuals and the production company, and those defendants would be independently responsible if a jury found them liable, but the insurance is a backstop in case none of the defendants have significant assets.