Court Sides with Gun Makers.
A judge dismissed the case (Merrill v. Navegar) in 1997, but two years later California's First District Court of Appeals revived it, holding that the survivors were entitled to a trial. On August 6th of this year, however, the California Supreme Court (by a vote of 5 to 1) reversed the district tribunal. Its ruling was predicated on a 1983 state law which provides that firearm manufacturers may not be held liable in product liability actions on "the basis that the benefits of the product do not outweigh the risk of injury posed by its potential to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged."
The majority opinion, written by Judge Ming W. Chin, held that since the legislature "has set California's public policy regarding gun manufacturers' liability under these circumstances," the "plaintiffs may not proceed with their negligence claim."
Attorney Ernest Getto, who represented Navegar, expressed heartfelt sympathy for the survivors, but insisted that "to hold the manufacturer of lawfully-made and lawfully-sold firearms responsible for it [Fern's rampage] would be wrong." And Stephen McCutcheon, an attorney with the Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation, told reporters: "With increasing frequency, we are seeing special interests attempting to shift responsibility for crimes away from criminals and onto businesses, manufacturers, and landowners. Today, the California Supreme Court refused to validate these efforts."
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|Title Annotation:||California Supreme Court dismisses Merrill v. Navegar case|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Sep 10, 2001|
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