April 3, 2023 – Renzulli Law Firm secured a complete dismissal of a product liability case on behalf of a U.S. based firearm manufacturer through a motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiffs alleged that the subject pistol contained a design defect, and that defect resulted in the pistol discharging after the owner dropped it.  RLF proved that the design of the pistol met all industry standards with regard to drop testing, that the pistol would not discharge a round when dropped under conditions similar to the scenario presented in the case, and that the opposing expert’s opinion of defect could not be attributable to the manufacturer and was not a cause of this alleged incident.

After full briefing of the motions and a comprehensive hearing before the court addressing all of the experts’ opinions and counsels’ legal arguments, including RLF’s cross-examination of plaintiffs’ expert, the court issued a comprehensive and decisive opinion dismissing all claims brought against RLF’s client. The court held that it was undisputed that the model pistol in question would not drop-fire when tested using various industry and government standards. The court further held that the only way plaintiffs’ expert could achieve a drop-fire scenario was to “strategically” place foreign material in the pistol to create a “partial trigger pull” condition prior to subjecting the pistol to the drop-fire test. Plaintiffs’ expert even admitted that “if the [debris] isn’t present … then it’s not going to drop fire.” Since the design of the pistol did not include foreign material interacting with the trigger mechanism, and such debris could not collect in this area through ordinary use, this “condition” could not be attributable to the manufacturer.  Further, the court held that the overwhelming evidence was that no such debris was present in the pistol and the trigger would not have been “partially pulled” at the time of the incident.

The court concluded its opinion by stating the subject firearm was not “susceptible to drop-firing” as designed, and therefore, the firearm was not defective or unreasonably dangerous. The court then dismissed the Complaint in its entirety with prejudice. 

If you have any questions about products liability cases, drop testing standards or other design issues, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli