WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is the mandatory training lawyers must take after they pass the bar. The classes that attorneys take can vary. The gun control group, Brady United Against Gun Violence, has now launched a CLE course that teaches lawyers how to sue firearms manufacturers. (www.trialguides.com/products/copy-of-introduction-to-suing-gun-manufacturers-on-demand-cle)
Brady United has been using creative legal arguments in lawsuits to sue gun manufacturers across the country and get around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
The anti-gun group has launched over 250 lawsuits in 45 states, costing the gun industry over $60 million. The strategy started with a successful case against Remington in Connecticut after a mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town.
“Working alongside trial lawyers, Brady represents (pro bono) gun violence victims, survivors, and communities in high-impact litigation that aims to reform the gun industry,” the course description reads. “Brady Legal has brought or assisted in more than 250 lawsuits in over forty states, and has won over $60 million dollars in settlements and verdicts for victims and survivors of gun violence who have been harmed because of negligently sold, designed or marketed guns.”
The training program builds on Brady’s record by teaching other lawyers how to go after gun companies. The class is taught by Brady Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy and Senior Counsel Erin Davis, and it focuses on overcoming the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The PLCAA is a 2005 law meant to protect firearms manufacturers and gun dealers from lawsuits over the use of its products. The companies can still be sued for defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions, such as selling a gun they knew would be used in a crime. Although many companies have used the PLCAA as a defense, others have chosen to settle out of court.
The class teaches the lawyer how to frame the case for the courts. It also covers gun laws and how Brady has survived the motion to dismiss that will evidently come in any gun case when the firearms company cites the PLCAA protections. It teaches how to use proximate cause in lawsuits as one way of getting around the PLCAA.
Proximate cause is being exploited as a way around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).. Proximate cause refers to a primary cause of an incident that sets everything into motion. The most common example is a car crossing into oncoming traffic that causes another vehicle to swerve, hitting a pedestrian. In that case, the car that crossed into oncoming traffic would be responsible even though they did not hit the vehicle or the pedestrian.
The course also teaches how to use a gun company’s marketing against them to prove liability. Marketing has been in the crosshairs of anti-gun lawsuits as of late. The Sandy Hook lawsuit was the first to cite marketing, but it is just one of many cases that have targeted the sales practices of gun companies. Lawsuits stemming from mass murders in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Highland Park also included firearms marketing in their cases against gun stores and manufacturers.
The course also includes how to sue gun stores over straw purchases and negligent sales.
It is done by analyzing patterns. Lawsuits have been launched where the plaintiffs argue the gun store should have known a gun was purchased for a prohibited person. Recently AmmoLand News reported that anti-gun groups had filed a freedom of information act (FOIA) request about federal firearms licensees (FFL) around major cities. This information could be used to find evidence that could be used in court cases.
Part of the proceeds from these classes will go to Brady United Against Gun Violence. There is no CLE course of defending against frivolous lawsuits over shootings.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.