'Rust' movie medic awarded $1.15 million partial settlement
SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico judge has approved a $1.15 million settlement between a medic who worked on the "Rust" film set and one of several defendants she accused of negligence in the fatal 2021 shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal.
Court records show the partial settlement between Cherlyn Schaefer and prop master Sarah Zachry was approved during a hearing Monday. Schaefer told the judge there's not a day that goes by when she doesn't think about what happened, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
In her civil complaint, Schaefer said she fought desperately in a failed attempt to save the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. She said the shock, trauma and emotional distress that followed has made it impossible for her to continue working in her field.
Prosecutors dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against the actor and producer last month, citing new evidence and the need for more time to investigate.
A sign directs people to the road that leads to the Bonanza Creek Ranch where the movie "Rust" is being filmed on October 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured on set
State District Judge Kathleen McGarry Ellenwood had entered a default judgment against Zachry in November after the film worker failed to file responses within court deadlines.
Zachry’s current attorney, Nathan Winger, told the court Monday that her previous attorney, William Waggoner, let deadlines pass without her permission, and she intends to seek damages from him to fund her settlement with Schaefer. Waggoner disputes the claim.
RELATED: Alec Baldwin scores win in 'Rust' fatal shooting case as DA drops firearm enhancement
Justin Rodriguez, one of several attorneys representing Schaefer, said the settlement "is a small portion of what we expect to receive in the future." The remaining defendants include Rust Movie Productions, weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls, but not Baldwin.
Schaefer’s complaint claims Zachry and Gutierrez-Reed failed to ensure there were no live rounds in Baldwin’s weapon. An involuntary manslaughter charge remains pending against Gutierrez-Reed, but her attorneys have said they fully expect her to be exonerated.