On May 24, 2010, the United States Supreme Court denied plaintiff Lilian S. Ileto’s petition for a writ of certiorari, bringing this decade-long case to a close.
The Ileto case arose from Bufford Furrow’s shooting of several children at the North Valley Jewish Community Center and subsequent murder of U.S. postal worker Joseph S. Ileto in Los Angeles on August 10, 1999. Mr. Furrow was later arrested and is serving life in prison. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), which required the immediate dismissal of lawsuits against firearms manufacturers and sellers based on the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm by the plaintiff or a third party, was signed into law on October 26, 2005. Renzulli Law Firm, LLP filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against defendants Glock, Inc., RSR Management Corporation and RSR Group Nevada, Inc. pursuant to the PLCAA, which the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted on March 6, 2006. On May 11, 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the complaint against Glock, Inc., RSR Management Corporation and RSR Group Nevada, Inc.
The plaintiffs, who were represented by the Educational Fund to End Handgun Violence, had 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. Plaintiffs argued that the defendants had violated three general California statutes, relating to the standard of care in negligence cases and the definition of a public nuisance, that were applicable to the marketing or sale of firearms. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the trial court that, as used in the PLCAA, the term “applicable” was ambiguous, but concluded that statutes that codify general tort law claims do not satisfy the predicate exception because it only applies to “statutes that regulate manufacturing, importing, selling, marketing, and using firearms or that regulate the firearms industry.” The Ninth Circuit also concluded that the PLCAA is constitutional, joining all other appellate courts that have considered this issue. Although this case has now been resolved in favor of Glock, Inc., RSR Management Corporation and RSR Group Nevada, Inc., it remains pending against defendant China North Industries Corporation, which was not represented by Renzulli Law Firm, LLP.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation recently highlighted the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to grant certiorari in its Bullet Points publication.