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Entertainment & Sports,
Civil Litigation

Nov. 24, 2021

Baldwin hires Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for civil cases from movie shooting

Aaron S. Dyer will lead the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP defense team for the actor and producer to deal with civil lawsuits stemming from his fatal shooting of the cinematographer and wounding of the director.

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin hired Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP to defend him and several production companies against civil lawsuits stemming from his fatal shooting of the cinematographer and wounding of the director on the set of his feature film.

Leading the defense team is Aaron S. Dyer, a Los Angeles partner who co-chairs the firm's corporate investigations team. The firm confirmed the engagement but declined to comment.

Dyer was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles for nearly seven years and prosecuted several high profile cases including that of anti-government activist M. Elizabeth Broderick, an associate of the Montana "Freemen" militia, and Stephen Murphy, who wrote "One Up On Trump" and 10 other books on buying commercial real estate in a depressed market.

In private practice, Dyer defended Joe Francis, creator of the video series "Girls Gone Wild," against civil and criminal racketeering and child pornography charges in Florida and Los Angeles. State of Florida v. MRA Holding and Mantra Films and Joe Francis et al., 03-1036H (Cir. Ct. of 14th Jud. Dist. Fla. (Bay County), filed April 23, 2003).

Dyer defended astronaut Buzz Aldrin after he punched a lunar landing conspiracy theorist who confronted him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2002. Dyer also defended Maurice Jones Drew, a former UCLA running back and member of the Jacksonville Jaguars who was investigated for allegedly striking a restaurant security guard. Neither Aldrin nor Drew were charged. Dyer is lead counsel on several class actions and civil False Claims Act cases for NutriBullet, Domaine Chandon, and the defense contractor Parsons.

Dyer is tasked with defending Baldwin, Rust Movie Productions and several other production companies associated with the film, which Baldwin has announced will never be completed.

Two lawsuits have already been filed in relation to the Oct. 21 shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gary A. Dordick of Beverly Hills sued on behalf of gaffer Serge Svetnoy and Gloria Allred of Allred Maroko & Goldberg sued on behalf of script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who called 911 after the shooting.

Brian J. Panish represents the husband and son of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Panish has not filed suit. Hutchins' husband, Matt Hutchins, is a corporate attorney at Latham & Watkins LLP.

"The reason we haven't filed our case yet is our clients are still mourning their tremendous loss of their wife and mother whose ashes were just interned," Panish, of Panish, Shea, Boyle and Ravipudi LLP, said in an telephone interview Tuesday. "Second, unless there are unusual circumstances we don't rush into filing lawsuits. We are conducting an extensive investigation of the facts including going to the scene and analyzing evidence with experts, interviewing witnesses who were present and those who walked off the set, researching all applicable law and meeting with the district attorney and law enforcement."

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed that a bullet was fired from an F.LLI Pietta 1873 single-action revolver, also known as a Peacemaker. It fires a .45 caliber Colt bullet, similar to the gun Wyatt Earp carried at the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. An investigation is underway into how live ammunition ended up in the gun and why it was fired at the cinematographer and director.

Allred filed a complaint on behalf of Mitchell in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming that cost-cutting on the set by the producers and Baldwin led to safety problems.

"We are conducting our own investigation of what happened because there are many unanswered questions," Allred said in a previous statement.


Douglas Saunders Sr.

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