Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Suit Highlights Need To Enact Reckless Lawsuit Preemption Legislation

Sunday, March 20, 2005

As we`ve lately reported in the Grassroots Alert, "The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" was recently introduced in Congress as S. 397 in the U.S. Senate, and H.R. 800 in the U.S. House. This NRA-backed lawsuit preemption legislation protects law-abiding firearm manufacturers from reckless, predatory lawsuits.

Another example of the need for such legislation surfaced recently as a negligence and negligent entrustment suit was brought against retail giant Wal-Mart by one of its employees.

Marsha Midgette, an employee of Wal-Mart, was tragically injured when her husband shot her in the head during an altercation inside a Wal-Mart store, then turned the gun on himself. Earlier that evening, Mr. Midgette had purchased ammunition from the same Wal-Mart store. Marsha Midgette sued her employer, Wal-Mart, for negligence in failing to protect her from her husband, and for negligent entrustment for selling ammunition to him. Wal-Mart filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that they owed no duty to protect Marsha Midgette from her husband`s criminal acts.

On March 3, in a non-published opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the decision of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, granting summary judgment in favor of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in the action.

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Wal-Mart`s motion for summary judgment, holding that, "As a general rule under Pennsylvania law, absent a pre-existing duty, a party cannot be held liable for the criminal actions of a third party unless that party assumed a duty, through some act of its own."

The Court held that Wal-Mart had found no duty owed to Marsha Midgette, and that even if there was a duty owed, it was not breached. The Court further held that Wal-Mart could not be found to be the legal or proximate cause of Mrs. Midgette`s injuries. "If the people closest to the situation could not have anticipated it, we cannot expect that Wal-Mart could foresee [Mr. Midgette`s] actions....Certainly, no reasonable jury could find that the shooting would have been foreseen by an ordinary person as the natural and probable outcome of Defendant`s legal sale of ammunition."

Regarding the sale of ammunition to Mr. Midgette, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania also granted Wal-Mart`s motion for summary judgment on the grounds of negligent entrustment. The Court found that, "Based on the record before us, we find that no reasonable jury could conclude that Wal-Mart knew, or should have known, that [Mr. Midgette] either intended or was likely to use the ammunition Wal-Mart sold to him to risk harm to anyone."

In conclusion, the Court held that, "…Wal-Mart did not breach any duty that it may have owed to Plaintiff, and that any breach of duty perceived by Plaintiff could not constitute the legal cause of Plaintiff`s unfortunate injuries…Thus, there are no issues of material fact for a jury to address."

Though this common sense decision bolsters NRA`s contention that these suits are without merit, the daunting cost to lawful manufacturers and sellers of firearms (currently estimated at well over $200 million) to defend themselves against this litigation seriously threatens the future of lawful firearm commerce in America. Of course, the anti-gun litigation strategy isn`t necessarily to win any of these suits (as they have failed to do thus far), but rather to bankrupt the industry through overwhelming litigation costs. Despite yet another court victory for the lawful gun industry, the continuance of these suits being filed demonstrates the pressing need to pass federal legislation to end them once and for all.

Please continue to contact your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support S.397 and H.R. 800. And please let them know, in no uncertain terms, that you consider any votes in support of anti-gun amendments to this legislation as a vote against the underlying bill itself!

To access the most up-to-date information on this issue, please go to the "Stop Reckless Lawsuits Against the Firearm Industry" heading at, www.NRAILA.org, and click the "Take Action" button. This function will allow you to easily send an e-mail or letter to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Please forward this link to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners.

TRENDING NOW
New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, October 31, 2019

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

On October 30th, the New Hampshire state Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee sent House Bill 687 to the House floor for further consideration after a motion to kill the bill failed by a vote ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

NRA Statement on 2019 Election  Results

News  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

NRA Statement on 2019 Election Results

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on the 2019 election results: "As if Gov. Northam’s legacy of ineptitude wasn’t enough, Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb."

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

Here’s a hint for Virginia gun owners and sportsmen: When you get a firearm-related election mailing with a New York City return address and proudly proclaiming that it’s printed on soy ink, you can safely ...

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

News  

Monday, October 28, 2019

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

At a townhall meeting in Michigan this month, Congresswoman Haley Stevens appeared to lose control when the NRA came up and began emotionally screaming, “The NRA has got to go! The NRA has got to go!” ...

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

On November 7th, the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned from its special session not long after it was convened. Governor Tony Evers’ latest attempt to pass gun control failed.

Anti-gun Ghosts Consider Challenges to President Trump as Current Field Falters

News  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Anti-gun Ghosts Consider Challenges to President Trump as Current Field Falters

This is the time of year when hideous creatures emerge on television and computer screens to menace and prey upon the unwary.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.