July 23, 2021

RLF achieved another victory for one of its firearm industry clients by successfully defeating an appeal brought by the Plaintiff in a case against the Long Island Practical Shooters Association (LIPSA).  The case involved a competitive quick-draw shooting competition hosted by LIPSA on August 21, 2016.  The Plaintiff, who had extensive experience participating in competitive pistol shooting matches, served as a Range Safety Officer (“RSO”) responsible for scoring and monitoring participants.  At stage 6 of the match, the Plaintiff was properly monitoring and preparing to score the co-defendant, a participant in the match, when the co-defendant quickly drew his pistol from his holster and inadvertently mishandled the pistol causing it to flip backwards and fire an errant shot into the Plaintiff’s stomach.  The Plaintiff sued LIPSA and co-defendant alleging negligence, negligent supervision, and premises liability.  RLF moved for summary judgment on behalf of LIPSA arguing that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by a legal doctrine known as primary assumption of the risk. RLF argued that, pursuant to the primary assumption of the risk doctrine, LIPSA owed no duty to the Plaintiff because he had assumed the risk of being shot by his voluntary participation in the quick-draw shooting competition.  The trial court agreed with our argument, granted summary judgment in favor of LIPSA, and dismissed the Plaintiff’s case.
On appeal, the Plaintiff attempted to reverse the trial court’s granting of summary judgment arguing that LIPSA unreasonably increased the risk of harm by (1) failing to inspect the co-defendant’s pistol and holster prior to the competition; (2) failing to use bullet proof towers to oversee the match; (3) providing inadequate rules regarding the positioning of the RSO at the stage of fire; and (4) providing inadequate safety instruction, amongst other reasons.  The appeals court agreed with RLF, however, that the risk of being shot is obvious and assumed when participating in a speed-based firearm shooting competition.  The appellate court further found that Plaintiff failed to provide evidence that any of the alleged additional precautions would have prevented Plaintiff’s injury.  Therefore, the appeals court affirmed the trial court’s decision and upheld the dismissal of LIPSA. 
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP vigorously defends its firearm industry clients regularly obtaining successful results throughout the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearms related litigation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.