Retailer Vindicated Through Summary Judgment in High-Exposure Gun Case September 20, 2013

Brian T. Stapleton, leader of Goldberg Segalla’s Second Amendment litigation and gun-related issues practice, obtained a significant victory in a high-exposure federal court case on behalf of a well-known sporting goods store.

The store was sued under a theory of negligent entrustment relating to the deaths of 13 individuals who were shot in a 2009 rampage. The plaintiff, the surviving spouse of one of the decedents, claimed the store was negligent in selling some of the firearms used that day. The circumstances of the case were tragic, and the potential for damages was enormous; had the plaintiff been successful in proving liability, our client would have faced a demand valued at several million dollars.

After nearly two years of contested and difficult discovery, Brian filed a detailed and extensive motion for summary judgment. Although the plaintiff decided not to oppose the motion — insisting on a high settlement and that the matter would inevitably go to trial — the court refused to dismiss the case outright. Instead, the judge reviewed the record in detail for issues of fact. None were found, and nearly one year after taking the matter on submission, the court issued a lengthy opinion that completely vindicated our client.

The decision drew significant media attention, including: