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
Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Round Two: Gun Rights Groups Prevail (Again) in Second Challenge to Firearm Restrictions in Delaware’s State Parks, Forests

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Round Two: Gun Rights Groups Prevail (Again) in Second Challenge to Firearm Restrictions in Delaware’s State Parks, Forests

Gun rights groups, including the NRA’s Delaware affiliate, the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, scored an encore legal victory this week when the Superior Court of the State of Delaware invalidated parts of newly promulgated regulations ...

Who’s BS’ing Now? Gonzalez Argues for Gun Confiscation but Insists She’s “Pro Second Amendment”

News  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Who’s BS’ing Now? Gonzalez Argues for Gun Confiscation but Insists She’s “Pro Second Amendment”

Gun control advocates are constantly looking for the right messenger to push an agenda that boils down to law-abiding Americans giving up their freedoms, their security, and their property without expectation of affecting the behavior ...

Jamie Lee Curtis “Proves” She is Not Anti-gun by Stating her Support for Banning Guns?!?!

News  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Jamie Lee Curtis “Proves” She is Not Anti-gun by Stating her Support for Banning Guns?!?!

Actors and actresses should generally stick to what they know best; repeating the lines others have written for them. Jamie Lee Curtis recently decided to try to explain, in her own words, how much she ...

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Monday, May 22, 2017

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Last Friday, May 19, Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed H. 3429 into law.  This bill went into effect upon the Governor’s approval.

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

Senator from Tennessee or Times Square? Bloomberg Hosts Manhattan Fundraiser for Phil Bredesen

News  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Senator from Tennessee or Times Square? Bloomberg Hosts Manhattan Fundraiser for Phil Bredesen

Is Phil Bredesen running for U.S. Senate to represent Memphis or Manhattan? Rocky Top or Rockefeller Center? Appalachia or the Big Apple? Tennessee voters might wonder after billionaire gun control financier and former-New York City ...

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

News  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

My fellow NRA members, we stand at the edge of the precipice of one of the most important elections of our lives. That is the reality we face, and we face it just days from ...

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.

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.