Renzulli Law Firm recently posted victories in two separate widely-watched cases, Gilland v. Sportsmen’s Outpost, Inc. and Williams v. Beemiller.
Gilland v. Sportsmen’s Outpost, Inc.
Led by Partner Christopher Renzulli, Renzulli Law Firm recently obtained a complete dismissal of a firearms retailer in the widely-publicized case, Gilland v. Sportsmen’s Outpost, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. The case drew considerable media attention from inception and has continued to draw interest across the United States, including from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who represented the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sought to hold a firearms retailer liable for wrongful death and negligence after Scott Magnano stole a firearm from the retailer and, more than a month later, shot and killed his estranged wife Jennifer Magnano, and then committed suicide.
Renzulli Law Firm filed a motion to dismiss on Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”) grounds and, in response, the Brady Center led an aggressive attack on the defendants, as well as the PLCAA, including a challenge to the constitutionality of the PLCAA.
On May 26, 2011, Judge Robert B. Shapiro granted the motion to dismiss, upholding the constitutionality of the PLCAA, and rejecting the Brady Center’s other challenges – a complete dismissal of the case and another Renzulli Law Firm victory.
Williams v. Beemiller, Inc.
In another victory, on April 25, 2011, Justice Marshall issued a memorandum decision granting Renzulli Law Firm’s motion to dismiss claims against Hi-Point Firearms pursuant to the PLCAA in the New York State Supreme Court for Erie County.
The Williams case arose from Cornell Caldwell’s shooting of high school student Daniel Williams on August 16, 2003, in Buffalo, after mistaking him for a member of a rival gang. Mr. Caldwell was later arrested and convicted. On July 25, 2005, plaintiffs, Daniel Williams and his father Edward Williams, filed suit against Hi-Point, the manufacturer of the handgun used by Mr. Caldwell, as well as the wholesale distributor, MKS Supply, Inc., and retail dealer, Charlie Brown, that sold the handgun, and a company that allegedly organized a gun show in Ohio where the handgun had been sold, International Gun-A-Rama. Plaintiffs also sued Mr. Caldwell, as well as the initial purchaser of the handgun, Kimberly Upshaw, and the person to whom she transferred it, James Bostic. Plaintiffs raised five causes of action against Hi-Point: (1) negligent distribution and sale, (2) negligent entrustment, (3) negligence per se, (4) public nuisance and (5) intentional statutory violations.
Renzulli Law Firm filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against Hi-Point pursuant to the PLCAA. The plaintiffs, who were also represented by the Brady Center, argued that their case should not be dismissed because it fell within the predicate exception for cases in which the manufacturer or seller knowingly violated a state or federal law applicable to the marketing or sale of firearms, or the exception for causes of action for negligent entrustment or negligence per se. In the alternative, the Brady Center argued that the PLCAA was unconstitutional. Justice Marshall rejected the Brady Center’s arguments and granted the motion to completely dismiss all of the plaintiffs’ claims against Hi-Point pursuant to the PLCAA, holding that its sale of a handgun to a federally licensed wholesale distributor did not come within any of the above exceptions. In addition, he also concluded that the PLCAA is constitutional, joining all other courts that have considered this issue.