20 Jul Gun Accident Cases
Consumers expect that the products they purchase are safe. Unfortunately, that is not always true. We hear news everyday that another dangerous product has been discovered on the market. Now imagine that the product that is defective is a firearm. If handled properly, guns can be a useful resource in hunting, target shooting, home protection and many other areas, but what if the gun is poorly designed or defective thus making the gun dangerous even when handled properly? Sadly, this has been the scenario in the cases Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles has handled involving gun related incidents.
When a firearm discharges unintentionally, many people automatically assume that the cause was user error. DO NOT MAKE THIS ASSUMPTION. Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles has the experience to evaluate an unintended gun discharge situation and analyze whether a poorly designed or defective gun played a role or was the main cause of the unintended discharge of the firearm.
Take, for example, the case of a 28 year old Alabama man who was severely injured when his PT111 9mm Millenium Taurus handgun unintentionally fell to the floor and discharged. The Taurus 9mm was in a holster with the safety in the “on” position when it struck the ground and fired. Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles represented the severely injured young man and contended that the safety mechanism on the PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun failed to prevent a “drop fire.” An internal safety device known as a striker block safety was defective and failed to prevent the striker (firing pin) from impacting the bullet and causing the gun to discharge, when subjected to a sharp impact such as a drop. The jury found that this defect in the PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun caused the young man’s injuries and awarded a verdict of $1.25 million as a result.
When a person is injured or killed by a poorly designed or defective firearm, that person has a legal claim against the manufacturer, and sometimes, the seller of the firearm. There are particular laws that apply to cases involving defective products and you need a lawyer who has handled such cases and is experienced in this specialized area of the law. At Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles, we regularly help individuals who have been hurt by a product that they believed to be safe, including firearms.
Our track record regarding gun defect cases has earned our firm the respect of many opposing attorneys and a reputation for providing excellent representation. Gun defect cases, and product defect cases in general, are very expensive. Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles has the resources necessary to pursue a valid product defect liability claim to completion, even against the largest corporations such as Taurus International Manufacturing, as seen above. If you would like to contact us about a possible gun defect case.
Remember that each case is tried on its own merits, and that a successful result in one case does not guarantee a successful result in your case.
THIS JUST IN…
Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles Partner Todd Wheeles Files Unintended Gun Discharge Case Against Taurus in New Mexico –
PRICE V. TAURUS INTERNATIONAL MANUFACTURING, INC., ET AL. –
Bernalillo County, New Mexico. This lawsuit involves the unintended discharge (drop fire) of a Taurus PT140 Millennium Pro .40. On the evening of November 24, 2009, Mrs. Price took her family dog for a walk around the neighborhood. At the time, she was wearing a “Smart Carry” concealment holster carrying the subject Taurus PT140 Millennium Pro underneath her fleece shirt. It was Mrs. Price’s routine practice to carry the subject handgun in this manner. After returning from the walk, Mrs. Price entered her bedroom closet to remove her shirt at which time the “Smart Carry” holster and the subject Taurus PT140 handgun fell to the closet floor and discharged upon impact. The bullet struck Mrs. Price in the lower abdomen, inflicting severe and permanent injuries. The “striker block” safety mechanism in the subject Taurus PT140, should have been engaged, which would have prevented the subject handgun from firing in the case of an accidental drop. The “striker block” safety is designed to be engaged at all times, up until the trigger is pulled, and it’s purpose is to prevent a just such a “drop fire”. As a result of this incident, Mrs. Price has had to undergo lengthy and extensive surgical treatment, and has suffered from post-surgical complications.
MARONEY V. TAURUS INTERNATIONAL MANUFACTURING, INC. –
Verdict of $1,250,000 (Etowah County Circuit Court, 2009). On October 15, 2009, an Etowah County Circuit Court jury awarded a 28 year old Boaz man a $1.25 million judgment in an unintended gun discharge case. The trial, which took place in Gadsden before Etowah County Circuit Judge Anthony Clark Hall, began October 8th and lasted one week. Lead counsel for the plaintiff was Todd Wheeles of Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles in Birmingham. Assisting attorney Wheeles during the trial was Tommy James, also of Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles & Knowles. The jury began deliberating on Thursday at approximately 12:45 p.m. and concluded at approximately 3:45 p.m., taking only about 3 hours to return a verdict. Of the $1.25 million judgment, $500,000 was for compensatory damages and $750,000 was for punitive damages.
The lawsuit, originally filed on February 13, 2007, involved the unintended discharge of a PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun. The 28 year old Boaz man, who owns a business in the Sardis area of Etowah County, was leaving home for work when the handgun unintentionally fell to the floor in his garage. The Taurus 9mm was in a holster with the safety in the “on” position when it struck the ground and discharged, severely injuring the Plaintiff. When the handgun discharged, the bullet fired up through the young man’s abdomen, impacting his pancreas, spleen, and diaphragm, creating two holes in his left lung. Ultimately, the young man was hospitalized for over a week, was forced to have his spleen removed and endured a great deal of harm and injuries as a result of this incident.
The Plaintiff’s contention was that the safety mechanism on the PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun failed to prevent a “drop fire.” An internal safety device known as a striker block safety was defective and failed to prevent the striker (firing pin) from impacting the bullet and causing the gun to discharge, when subjected to a sharp impact such as a drop. The jury found that this defect in the PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun caused the Plaintiff’s injuries.
Representatives of Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc. admitted that there are more than 100,000 of these handguns on the market in the U.S. currently. Attorney Todd Wheeles is hopeful that this judgment will encourage Taurus to fix this problem and recall the other PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handguns on the market, stating that, “Handgun owners should be able to trust that the safety devices on their handguns will work. This was a clear case of a defective safety on this PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun causing injury to my client.”