In August we successfully obtained a complete dismissal of all causes of action alleged against a well-recognized domestic firearm manufacturer in a complaint brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
The plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturer’s pistol unexpectedly discharged causing severe injuries. Plaintiffs claimed substantial damages under theories of negligence, strict products liability, res ipsa loquitur, and loss of consortium. In support of their case, the plaintiffs’ experts conducted videotaped testing purporting to show that the pistol was defectively designed and manufactured and that it unexpectedly discharged causing the plaintiff’s severe injuries. Through aggressive deposition questioning of the plaintiffs and their experts, narrowed discovery, and our own expert testing, we were able to fashion a complete defense to the plaintiffs’ case. We presented the court with a full record detailing plaintiffs’ experts’ flawed testing and a lack of factual support for their defect theories.
We also argued that plaintiffs’ experts should be precluded from testifying at trial because they lacked the qualifications necessary to offer expert testimony based upon concessions we were able to elicit from them during their depositions. We also made a convincing spoliation of evidence argument based upon the mishandling of the pistol by the plaintiffs, their experts and their counsel subsequent to the discharge at issue. Based on the arguments made in a summary judgment motion, and on the eve of trial, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their complaint with prejudice and the District Court entered judgment in favor of the firearm manufacturer.
This case underscores the importance of a vigorous, focused defense in firearm product liability litigation.
For more information, please contact Christopher Renzulli.