Washington, D.C., May 24, 2019 — In a major victory for Brady’s legal team, the Indiana Court of Appeals this week ruled that the City of Gary, Indiana’s long-standing lawsuit against the gun industry could proceed to discovery, reversing a previous ruling by a trial court. Brady, which has represented the City for over 20 years in City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp., hailed the ruling as a landmark victory in the fight against crime guns.
The Court of Appeals ruling can be found here.
Brady president Kris Brown stated,
“Every day, 100 people are shot and killed in America. How many of those lives could have been saved if the gun industry had acted responsibly? How many guns could have been kept out of criminals’ hands if manufacturers hadn’t used deceptive marketing tactics and implemented responsible safety features? We’re grateful to yesterday’s decision, and we look forward to continuing our effort with the City of Gary to hold the gun industry responsible for their actions.”
Jonathan Lowy, Brady VP of Legal and co-counsel for the City of Gary, added,
“Brady is proud to stand with the Mayor and the people of Gary, Indiana in their steadfast efforts to take crime guns off their streets, and make gun companies who choose to profit off of the criminal gun market pay their fair share of the damage they’ve caused. For more than two decades, Brady has fought in the courts alongside the City of Gary and others across the country to reform the gun industry and hold them accountable for the public health epidemic they have irresponsibly helped create. This decision by the Court of Appeals is an important step in taking the profit out of supplying the crime gun market, and making Gary safer. Brady will stop at nothing to make our communities safe, stop the flow of crime guns, and reform practices of irresponsible gun companies. No matter how difficult a case might be, we will be there with victims and communities every step of the way.”
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said:
“We are pleased about the Court’s ruling. We believe that the Second Amendment requires that manufacturers and dealers engage responsibly. We are painfully aware of what happens when that responsibility is not taken seriously and believe that irresponsible actors must be held accountable.”
In August 1999, the City of Gary, represented by Brady’s legal team, 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.
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 and the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Due to this landmark victory, Brady’s legal team 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.
This victory is the latest obstacle the City has overcome in this case:
- In 2003, the Supreme Court of Indiana unanimously upheld the City’s claims, rejecting the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
- After manufacturers again moved to dismiss the case in 2005, both the trial court and the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the suit was not barred by PLCAA.
- The current motion to dismiss again argues that the case is barred by PLCAA, but also that the case was barred by an Indiana statute enacted in 2001 (two years after the suit was filed) but allegedly made retroactive by then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2015. The Court of Appeals has now rejected that dismissal.
The full ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals can be found here.
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.
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 the common sense. In the spirit of our founders Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 25 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.