Could a gun accident give rise to product liability?

Gun control has been a charged political subject of late, addressed not only by candidates in the presidential race, but also in response to the tragedy of mass shootings. One of the talking points has involved an aspect of product liability law: whether gun manufacturers should have absolute immunity.

As background, there’s already precedent that gun makers can be held accountable under a product liability claim. A recent example involved the handgun manufacturer Taurus. The class action plaintiffs alleged that a certain handgun model was defective, firing if accidentally dropped.

Taurus recently agreed to a $30 million settlement, in addition to $9 million in attorneys’ fees. Although that amount is hefty, the proposed settlement does not include any admission of a product defect by Taurus. The federal court has scheduled an upcoming hearing in mid-July and will rule on whether it approves the proposed settlement.

The concept of absolute immunity, as used in recent debates, may refer to the statutes that some states have passed in response to frivolous product liability lawsuits. Generally speaking, those laws seek to prevent such lawsuits brought against the manufacturers of firearms that were properly functioning.

What makes a product liability claim frivolous? If a product was designed properly and it functions safely and according to its advertised purpose, it may well be that any injuries were attributable to another cause. In the case of guns, an owner might have forgotten to keep the safety on, possibly giving way to a premises liability claim or another theory or negligence against the owner of the gun. As a law firm that has helped many clients injured by a potentially defective or dangerous product, we have the experience to examine alternative theories of liability and pursue the best strategy.

Source: Washington Post, “The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act: Facts and policy,” David Kopel, May 24, 2016

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"They took a case that others would have stayed clear of.."
I have the utmost respect for Rip Andrews and the lawyers at MRB Law. They took a case that others would have stayed clear of because the issue of state immunity was involved. Through determination and unwavering commitment they were able to a find resolution to an extremely difficult matter.
Nancy Owen
"They took a case that others would have stayed clear of.."
I have the utmost respect for Rip Andrews and the lawyers at MRB Law. They took a case that others would have stayed clear of because the issue of state immunity was involved. Through determination and unwavering commitment they were able to a find resolution to an extremely difficult matter.
Nancy Owen
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These lawyers took a complicated issue, revealed the truth in a way 12 jurors unfamiliar with the topic could understand, and brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict. They were able to relate my “invisible” medical condition to the jury better than I can to my own friends. And because of that, the jury hugged me and cried with me when it was all over. That meant more to me than any amount of money.
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These lawyers took a complicated issue, revealed the truth in a way 12 jurors unfamiliar with the topic could understand, and brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict. They were able to relate my “invisible” medical condition to the jury better than I can to my own friends. And because of that, the jury hugged me and cried with me when it was all over. That meant more to me than any amount of money.
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I can’t adequately put into words the appreciation I have for Mr. Derrick Mills and MRB Law. He was assertive in his fight for justice for our family during our time of tragedy. Mr. Mills is knowledgeable, passionate and a great communicator. Our relationship began as strangers but ended in friendship thanks to the compassion he showed. Thank you Mr. Mills for being a dedicated professional! Justice done right!
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