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Brady Sues Smith & Wesson, Gun Dealer, On Behalf of Victims of 2019 Mass Shooting at Chabad of Poway Synagogue

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2020 – Today, Brady Legal has filed a lawsuit on behalf of victims and survivors of the mass shooting in Chabad of Poway Synagogue against the manufacturer and seller of the gun. Neil Gilmor of Artiano Shinoff, Sheldon Ostroff, and Donna Vobornik and Anne Waddell of Dentons US LLP are counsel with Brady. The suit alleges that major gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, negligently and unlawfully designed and marketed the assault rifle used in the shooting and San Diego Guns violated California law in the sale. The suit seeks monetary relief and an injunction demanding that all parties reform their business practices.

On the morning of April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover, a gunman armed with a Smith & Wesson Model M&P 15 Sport II semiautomatic rifle entered Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting multiple rounds, killing one worshiper, and injuring three others.

Brady Legal Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy explained:

“We do not have to live in an America where we are not even safe from gun violence in our places of worship, during one of the most important holidays of the year. The victims and survivors of this Passover shooting are bringing suit because they do not want another family or congregation, of any faith, to suffer as theirs did. Dealers should sell guns legally and carefully. Manufacturers shouldn’t design, market and sell assault weapons to attract and facilitate would-be mass shooters. We look forward to proving our case in court, and making these gun companies become part of the solution to gun violence, instead of part of the problem.”

Donna Vobornik, Litigation partner at Dentons, shared:

“We are hopeful that this complaint leads to meaningful and immediate change in the production, marketing and distribution of these weapons so that stories of devastation like this do not continue to play out. Our individual rights, including those guaranteed under the First Amendment, require bold defense when they fall victim to illegal guns.”

The Plaintiffs said:

“We are bringing this action to save lives, so that no other congregation or family of any faith will have to endure what ours has. We invite Smith & Wesson to speak with us about concrete ways that it can change its business practices so that it can continue to sell firearms to those who want them, while acting responsibly to prevent tragedies like the shooting at our temple. If Smith & Wesson were to promptly agree to the safe, responsible actions we propose, we would drop the lawsuit against them tomorrow, without being paid a dime.”

The suit alleges that Smith & Wesson’s rifle could be easily modified into an assault weapon in violation of California law or to fire automatically, and was marketed in violation of California’s unfair business practices law, in a manner attractive to customers like the shooter, young men predisposed to violence. Similar claims against Remington Arms Co. were upheld in a lawsuit brought by victims of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

The suit also alleges that San Diego Guns, the dealer that sold the weapon used in this crime, violated California law by transferring the weapon to the shooter although he was underage and did not present a California hunting license that was in effect.

About the 2019 Mass Shooting in Chabad of Poway Synagogue

On April 27, 2019 a nineteen-year old man, specifically targeting the Jewish community, fired his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 AR-15 style semi-automatic assault rifle in the Chabad of Poway synagogue, where worshippers were celebrating Passover services. After killing one congregant, shooting the rabbi and wounding others, the shooter was confronted by members of the congregation, causing him to flee. After calling the police and admitting to committing a hate crime, the shooter was apprehended by San Diego Police.

About the Complaint:

The complaint alleges that Smith & Wesson negligently designed and unlawfully marketed the rifle. The complaint also alleges that the dealer violated California law which prohibited transferring the Shooter the weapon due to his age unless he presented a valid California hunting license. The Complaint alleges that the Shooter presented a California hunting license which was not yet in effect. The complaint also includes claims for which Neil Gilmor from the Law firm Artiano Shinoff and the Law Offices of Sheldon A. Ostroff are representing the plaintiffs for negligent or intentional torts against the State of California, the shooter and the shooter’s family.

About Brady Legal:

Brady has represented victims of gun industry negligence for over 30 years, and has won over $60 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 litigated in over 40 states, and 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.

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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.


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