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Brady Takes Lawsuit Against Online Gun Dealer to U.S. Supreme Court

Daniel v. Armslist seeks justice against Armslist for family of murdered Wisconsin woman

Washington, D.C., July 31, 2019 — This week, following an April ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court against a woman whose mother was shot and killed in a mass shooting, Brady (formerly known as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, LLP, and the Wisconsin firm Cannon and Dunphy filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the highest judicial body in the nation to review the case. Brady and co-counsel are asking the Court to determine whether or not Armslist, the online gun website that facilitated the purchase, is immune from civil liability under the federal Communications Decency Act.

The case was brought on behalf of Yasmeen Daniel, whose mother Zina Daniel Haughton was shot and killed by her husband in 2012. The shooter was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a restraining order taken out by Zina, but he was able to purchase one through a person he met on Armslist. April’s ruling reversed a previous decision by the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin to let the case proceed.

The Supreme Court petition can be found here.

Further background on the case can be found here.

Jonathan Lowy, Brady VP of Legal and co-counsel for the Daniel family, stated,

“We were deeply disappointed by what we viewed as a clearly incorrect decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this year, and we are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to correct this wrong. In passing the Communications Decency Act over two decades ago, Congress did not intend to give sweeping immunity to websites such as Armslist that subvert federal gun laws. We look forward to making our case before the Court in our fight to hold Armslist accountable and to seek justice on behalf of Zina and her family.”

Armslist is a major source of crime guns in the U.S., and frequently enables criminals to buy and sell guns online. The complaint alleges that Armslist entered the online gun business after craigslist, Amazon, and other websites stopped allowing guns sales because of the known danger that prohibited people would obtain them. Guns sold through Armslist have been tied to previous crimes, including the murder of Jitka Vesel in Chicago, which led to an unsuccessful suit against Armslist. Daniel v. Armslist is one of three cases Brady has brought against the website, including an ongoing case on behalf of wounded police officer Kurt Stokinger.

Jacqueline Wolff, co-counsel for Plaintiff and a partner at Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips in New York, added,

“In both the CDA’s own wording and the legislative record, it is abundantly clear that the CDA was never intended to insulate website designers and operators for their own wrongful conduct. While certain courts have found such protection to exist, other courts have rejected that proposition. We believe the issue of whether the CDA provides such protection is ripe for the Supreme Court’s review.”

Counsel for Yasmeen Daniel are Jonathan Lowy of Brady in Washington, D.C.; Jacqueline Wolff and Samantha Katze of Manatt in New York; and Patrick Dunphy and Brett Eckstein of Cannon and Dunphy in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Brady has represented victims of gun industry negligence for almost 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.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, is a leading professional services firm, providing integrated legal and consulting services to a global client base. With offices strategically located in California (Los Angeles, Orange County, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Sacramento), New York (New York City and Albany), Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Boston, the firm represents sophisticated clients—including Fortune 500, middle-market and emerging companies—across a range of industry sectors such as: healthcare; financial services; entertainment; digital and technology; and energy, environmental and real estate. For more information, visit www.manatt.com.

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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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