OT:Judge dismisses Miami-Dade gun lawsuit

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MIAMI, (Reuters) - A Florida judge threw out a Miami-Dade County lawsuit against gun manufacturers, ruling on Monday that the lawsuit was too vague and the county lacked legal standing as a plaintiff.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas filed the product liability lawsuit against two dozen gun-makers, distributors and industry groups in January, seeking to recoup hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent by Florida's largest county in treating gunfire victims and investigating gun-related crimes.

But Circuit Court Judge Amy Dean granted the gun manufacturers' request to dismiss the lawsuit on Monday, ruling that the county "is not the proper party plaintiff to bring this lawsuit."

The Miami-Dade lawsuit was one of a string brought by some 28 municipalities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, against handgun makers seeking reimbursement for public spending related to gun violence.

Dean wrote in the ruling that Florida law requires that plaintiffs in product liability cases show that they were harmed by a specific defect in a specific product made by a specific manufacturer.

The county's claim covered a variety of products made and legally sold by various manufacturers over an indeterminate length of time, the judge said.

Additionally, she ruled, the damages the county sought were "purely derivative" of damages suffered by third parties and therefore "too remote" to be recoverable.

Penelas said he was disappointed by the ruling and would appeal it.

"I remain committed to pursuing legal action on behalf of the children in our community who have been killed or injured by gunfire, deaths and injuries that could have been prevented if the gun industry would manufacture safer, childproof guns and change its negligent distribution and marketing practices," Penelas said.

The suit alleged that the gun-makers sold products that were defective because they lacked safety devices such as trigger locks and load indicators that would reveal whether there is a bullet in the firing chamber.

The lawsuits brought by municipalities around the country have been patterned after successful lawsuits brought by U.S. states against the tobacco industry, which forced cigarette makers into multibillion-dollar settlements.

The Clinton Administration said last week it would also file a class action lawsuit against the gun industry unless manufacturers agreed to make major changes in the way they market and distribute guns.

But in September, an Ohio judge dismissed a similar suit filed against the gun makers by the City of Cincinnati. That judge said the issue belonged before the legislature, not the court.

Defendants in the Miami-Dade lawsuit included Smith & Wesson Corp., a unit of the British conglomerate Tomkins Plc; Beretta U.S.A. Corp.; Glock Inc.; Sturm, Ruger & Co Inc ; Colt's Manufacturing Company Inc.; Browning Arms Co. and Carl Walther GmbH. ----------------------------------------------------------------

Looks like these lawsuits are going NOWHERE!!!!!


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), December 14, 1999


One can only fervently hope!!

EVEN if they DID have a loaded indicator, if you haven't been TRAINED on that PARTICULAR GUN you don't know where to LOOK!! There is ONE rule of safe gun handling:......

WHen you pick it up you check it. Doesn't matter if you just laid it down for 1 minute and turned your back for 5 sec's. You STILL CHECK!!

(Fer gawds sake it might NOT be loaded when you need it TO BE!!)


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 14, 1999.

Saw an article today where the Hartford, Conneticut gunmaker lawsuit was thrown out today also. Something about the using individual being the responsible party, not the makers of the tool the individual uses.

What a remarkable turn of events. Maybe some judges who have been chaffing at the bit see the end of the current system and are showing their true colors in the waning days of the kultursmog.


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), December 14, 1999.

It almost seems too wishful to hope for, but maybe some hint of common sense still exists among the U.S. judiciary. The only person responsible for the effects of a gun is the one who uses it or who leaves it unattended so someone else can use it. In a sane and reasonable world a manufacturer is not responsible for the way a product is used, otherwise there would be no automobile industry.

-- cody (cody@y2lsurvive.com), December 14, 1999.

First it was the tobacco lawsuits, now the gun manufacturers.

Next within the lawyers' greedy slimy grasp will be the auto manufacturers. After all , there are over 40,000 people killed each year in the USA DIRECTLY from autos. This does not count the several hundred thousand who are injured by same.

The insanity will end only when EVERYONE belongs to an official aggrieved group, so that EVERY citizen is suing everyone else (kind of like now), and that will put everyone on an equal footing and show how stupid all this is .

-- profit of doom (doom@helltopay.ca), December 14, 1999.


Don't blame the lawyers. It was those 'greedy, slimy' lawyers that filed the motion to dismiss that got this nonsense thrown out of court.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, don't blame the lawyers. They are only working with the laws that the Legislative Branch has passed. A lawyer can jump up and down all they want in court, but if the LAW doesn't support their argument then they are SOL. If some big corporation wronged you, you'd be damned glad the lawyers were there to protect you.



-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), December 14, 1999.

It's nice to see an occasional rational decision come out of the courts...it restores my faith in our judicial system...

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), December 15, 1999.

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