Washington, D.C., November 26, 2019 – After two decades, the city of Gary, Indiana, will move forward with its lawsuit against the gun industry for its role in fueling the public health epidemic caused by gun violence. “Being duly advised, the Court DENIES the petition to transfer” signed Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, denying a petition from the gun industry to review and reverse a ruling from the Court of Appeals that held the lawsuit was not barred by state and federal gun industry protection laws. Today, the case can move forward.
Jonathan Lowy, Brady VP of Legal and co-counsel for the City of Gary, shared:
“Brady is very pleased that the Supreme Court of Indiana has given the green light for the City to proceed in its effort to seek accountability and justice against the gun industry on behalf of the residents of Gary. We look forward to discovering the truth about the gun industry’s role in supplying the criminal gun market. As the only ongoing case against virtually the entire gun industry, today’s ruling is a victory not only for the city of Gary, but for all gun violence survivors, their families, and their communities. Brady is thankful for the sustained and unwavering resolve of the city of Gary to reduce violence in their community, to take the profit out of supplying the crime gun market, and to reveal the truth about the industry practices that fuel gun violence in our communities.”
Mayor of Gary Karen Freeman-Wilson added:
“We are pleased about the Court’s ruling. Today’s decision means that we can move forward with holding gun manufacturers and dealers responsible for their actions and dealings. We are painfully aware of what happens when that responsibility is not taken seriously and believe that irresponsible actors must be held accountable.”
Due to this landmark victory, Brady Legal will now be able to obtain discovery documents from the gun industry and question them under oath to prepare the city’s case for trial. This decision serves as a pivotal step forward in reforming dangerous practices throughout the gun industry, and holding irresponsible companies accountable.
Brady President Kris Brown emphasized the importance of today’s decision:
“When over 100 Americans are killed by gun violence a day, there are too many of us who should be here to celebrate today’s win against the gun industry who are not. Today’s decision is a first step towards bringing them justice. Brady has worked with the city of Gary on this case for 20 years. If it takes the next 20, we won’t stop.”
About the case:
City of Gary, Indiana, Appellant(s), v. Smith & Wesson Corp., et al., Appellee(s).
In August 1999, the city of Gary, represented by Brady Legal, filed suit against America’s gun manufacturers — including Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Colt’s, Beretta, Glock, and Hi-Point — for their complicity in supplying the criminal gun market. The suit alleges that defendants design, manufacture, distribute, and sell thousands of handguns in an irresponsible manner that supplies the criminal gun market. The city of Gary seeks to have the gun industry reform its business practices and pay for the public health epidemic they have created, which costs hundreds of human lives and millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
After two decades of litigation, on May 23, 2019, the Court of Appeals of Indiana held that the city’s lawsuit could proceed to discovery. Reversing the trial court’s dismissal of the case, the Court rejected industry arguments that the lawsuit was an unlawful attempt to regulate the firearms industry that was barred by an Indiana immunity statute that then-Governor Mike Pence made retroactive, and the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The gun industry defendants filed a petition asking the Indiana Supreme Court to review and reverse the decision. Today, the Court denied that petition, clearing the way for the lawsuit to move forward and for the city of Gary to receive its day in court to hold the gun industry accountable for its role in the gun violence epidemic.
Brady has represented victims of gun industry negligence for more than 30 years, and has won over $30 million in settlements and verdicts in cases brought by Brady for victims and survivors. Brady also has won landmark precedents holding that gun companies can be held legally responsible for the damage caused by their irresponsible business practices, and has forced gun dealers and manufacturers to reform their practices to prevent sales of guns to dangerous people. Brady has won victories in the Supreme Courts of Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Alaska, and appellate and trial courts in California, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and other states. These victories include: a $5.7 million jury verdict against a Wisconsin gun dealer; a $2.5 million settlement against a Washington state gun dealer and Maine gun manufacturer; a $2.2 million dollar settlement against a Missouri gun dealer; and a $1 million settlement against a West Virginia gun dealer.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.