Is Alec Baldwin Legally Responsible Civilly For The Death Of The Set Worker?
Yes, but not because he fired the pistol. Here is what happened. Alec Baldwin was handed a real gun by a setworker who was hired during union issues. He fired the gun and a bullet struck a worker on set, killing her instantly. In a scenario like that, the custodian of props would be responsible for ensuring that the gun was either unloaded or a fake gun. Ultimately, the liability would fall on them directly. However, Alec Baldwin owns the production company that hired the undertrained worker that provided him with the real gun. Hence, in the chain of negligence, Baldwin also is a contributor.
What you need to know about this case is that an employer is vicariously liable for the conduct of their employee. In other words, even if the employee had done everything right, the company would still be liable for the death because they are responsible for the props. In this case, the employee made a grievous error and it cost someone their life. Now, his employer is still responsible for the death, even if they had hired capable workers. The family of the slain worker will claim that the production company was negligent, cut corners, and ultimately resulted in the death of a worker. Below, we’ll take a look at their argument.
The negligence of the production company
While we can say that the negligence of the individual in charge of the props caused a real gun to be fired on set, we also know that issues with union workers has resulted in the hiring on underqualified workers. The employer has a duty of care to ensure that all those who are hired are qualified to the job. In this case, they clearly didn’t ensure that the props master knew what he was doing. That failure ultimately made an accident like this inevitable. While it was certainly bad luck that an unsuspecting Baldwin fired a real gun, it wouldn’t have happened had the props director taken the necessary measures to ensure the prop was fake. Hence, the production company is negligent for hiring on an underskilled worker that resulted in a safety hazard that took someone’s life.
Someone dying as a result of failing to hire non-union workers is going to be a boon for union workers. Questions will arise as to whether or not the gun was intentionally swapped out for a fake gun to generate this type of tragedy. While one would have to assume that the culprit was morally despicable, a civil defendant would not have to prove the truth of a conspiracy, they would only need to give a jury enough dots to connect.
Hence, while there are no early indications that foul play was involved, the production company could allege that someone sabotaged the props for the purpose of manufacturing this event which would embolden their negotiating position. While it may not be likely, one thing we’ve learned over the past 5 years is that people like conspiracy theories because they make better stories than the truth, which is usually boring and involves simple incompetence. In other words, a jury might be more invested in an interesting albeit unlikely story than a true but boring one.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve taken a bullet due to labor disputes, you may be able to file a lawsuit against someone for negligence. Call the Miami personal injury lawyers at Payer Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.