On June 2, a Georgia gun dealer facing a lawsuit by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to avoid an ambush at trial and head straight for an appeal. The case is one of several that began in 2006 with “sting operations” by Mayor Bloomberg’s investigators, that have brought rebukes from both federal and state officials for their interference with ongoing investigations.
In a surprise move, lawyer John Renzulli, representing Adventure Outdoors of Smyrna, Ga., told activist U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein that he would not participate in jury selection. The announcement will allow the store to go directly to a federal appeals court to challenge Judge Weinstein’s ruling that his court has jurisdiction over the store--even though the store had never done any business in New York, and its owner had never even set foot in New York before the case was filed!
In announcing that decision, Judge Weinstein remarked in court, “I have made many errors and I'll make many in the future.” Truer words were never spoken; the ruling continued a long series of bizarre decisions by the judge, whom plaintiffs’ lawyers have long sought out for his willingness to hear their most exotic claims.
Even Judge Weinstein acknowledged the weakness of the city’s case, telling Adventure Outdoors’ lawyer at one point that he might have to allow evidence of other stores’ sales, because, “If your defendant was the only one doing this … I don't think there’d be a nuisance. Your defendant is just a minor store.”
We’ll keep you posted.