Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Bump Stock Manufacturers and Retailers on Behalf of Las Vegas Shooting Victims
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Las Vegas Law Firm of Eglet Prince to announce the suit at Las Vegas Press Conference Tuesday
LAS VEGAS – October 10, 2017. A class action lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Clark County Nevada on behalf of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in American history that took place on October 1, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The suit, filed by Las Vegas law firm Eglet Prince and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, is against Slide Fire Solutions, LP and the sellers, manufacturers and marketers of "bump stock" devices which convert semi-automatic weapons to the functional equivalent of a machine gun.
This case is on behalf of all the festival goers who suffered emotional distress as a result of the shooting. The lawsuit asks the defendants to pay for the costs associated with counseling and other treatment for emotional distress. The lawsuit also asks the court to award punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges that such damages are appropriate for defendants who provided a product that turned a semi-automatic gun into the functional equivalent of a machine gun, thereby evading longstanding federal law.
The lawsuit asserts that Slide Fire Solutions, LP was negligent in developing and marketing "bump stocks" to the general public without any reasonable restrictions, thereby subverting federal law that has highly regulated machine guns for over 80 years. According to the Complaint, "this horrific assault would not and could not have occurred, with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense." The complaint goes on to allege that the damage caused to the plaintiffs, "resulted from the military-style arsenal that the defendants manufactured, marketed, and sold to the public, without any reasonable measures or safeguards."
Representing the Plaintiffs are Robert Eglet, Robert Adams, Aaron Ford, and Erica Entsminger of the Eglet Prince law firm, and Jonathan Lowy, of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady Campaign & Center Co-Presidents, Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner, released a statement regarding the impact of this case:
The people who attended the concert have suffered so much already. The physical injuries are staggering, and we know the emotional injuries can be equally severe and long term. Brady has decades of experience supporting the victims of gun violence and has been the only organization in the nation focused on seeking justice for them in the courts.
The announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday, October 10th at 10:30 am PST by Robert T. Eglet of Eglet Prince and Jonathan Lowy, Vice President, Litigation of the Brady Center. The event was held at the law offices of Eglet Prince 400 South Seventh Street, Suite 400 in Las Vegas.
Since 1986, the National Firearms Act ("NFA") has heavily regulated the sale of fully automatic guns, a.k.a. "machine guns," so they are not readily available to the US public. "Bump stocks" enable generally available semi-automatic firearms to simulate machine guns by greatly increasing their rate of fire. Based on reports, in the October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting, the number of lives lost and people injured and emotionally traumatized in 11 minutes -- a mere 660 seconds in which bullets hailed down upon them -- resulted from the shooter using "bump stock" devices. Numerous bump stock devices were found in the killer's hotel room.
Bump stock devices were created by Slide Fire Solutions, LP. In 2010 letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Explosives, ("ATF") Slide Fire wrote that the bump stocks were intended to assist "persons whose hands have limited mobility." However, Slide Fire's inventor of the bump stock, in a 2016 interview with AmmoLand, Jeremiah Cottle stated later, that the bump stock was geared toward "people like me, who love full auto." The complaint alleges that plaintiffs are unaware of bump stocks actually being marketed or sold only to people whose hands had limited mobility. The complaint alleges that Slide Fire grossed more than $10 million in sales of bump stocks in 2010. According to Cottle, a semi-automatic rifle may cost between $800 and $1,200, while a fully automatic model can run more than $15,000. It was also asserted in marketing materials that the bump stock allows semi-automatic rifle to mimic the fire rate of a fully automatic rifle for a fraction of the price and without the legal paperwork. Slide Fire marketed its bump stock as a military-grade accessory for civilians, and sold for $100 to $400, depending on the model. Slide Fire has since suspended new orders on its website and disabled its "locate a dealer" section. Also, some retailers have stopped selling bump stock products after the shootings.
The members of the class action suit are seeking equitable relief in the form of a court supervised program for psychological monitoring for all the Class Members at the expense of the Defendants. Equitable medical testing will provide medical monitoring, testing and evaluation that would have been unnecessary had the Defendants not been negligent and conducted this reckless behavior.
A COMPLETE COPY OF THE COMPLAINT AVAILABLE AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE – INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
ABOUT EGLET PRINCE
Eglet Prince has successfully represented thousands of clients. The firm is best known for its multimillion-dollar verdicts, including two verdicts in excess of $500 million against a pharmaceutical company. The attorneys at Eglet Prince are experienced trial lawyers and have successfully handled complex litigation, mass tort litigation and class actions. Eglet Prince is located at the Robert T. Eglet Advocacy Center 400 S. 7th Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101, 4th Floor 702-450-5400
ABOUT BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE
For more than 25 years, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has represented victims of gun violence litigation cases across the country. As a result, the Brady Center has obtained or helped obtain more than $80 million in verdicts and settlements against gun companies on behalf of victims. A 501(c)(3) organization, the Brady Center is located at 840 First Street, NE, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20002 https://www.bradycampaign.org/legal-action-project
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is filing this lawsuit?
- Lawyers with Eglet Prince and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence have filed a lawsuit on behalf of victims of last Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
- Counsel of record are: Jonathan Lowy, of the Brady Center; Robert Eglet, Robert Adams, Aaron Ford, Erica Entsminger, of Eglet Prince.
What is the lawsuit?
- We have filed suit against Slide Fire Solutions, the creator and owner of the of the "bump stock" patent that enabled the killer to turn the country music festival into a war zone, and unnamed sellers and manufacturers of bump stocks that may have supplied the killer.
- The lawsuit is a class action on behalf of people who suffered emotional distress as a result of the incident. Lawsuits on behalf of those wounded or killed by gunfire will follow.
- This lawsuit is about the negligent sale and marketing of a product intended to circumvent and subvert federal firearms law in a manner that facilitates criminal acts, such as the massacre of October 1.
- Negligent supplying of such dangerous products not only causes foreseeable harm (such as the shooting incidents underlying this case), it unfairly tarnishes the right of all law abiding citizens to bear arms for lawful purposes, including protection, hunting, or other recreational activities.
Why doesn't the lawsuit name all of the companies you are suing?
- The lawsuit is based on the best known information, and will be amended as more information is obtained about which other companies made, marketed, and sold the bump stock devices at issue.
What is a bump stock?
- Bump stocks are after-market devices that convert semiautomatic weapons into the functional equivalent of machine guns.
When and where was this lawsuit filed?
- The lawsuit was filed in state court in Las Vegas on Friday.
Who is covered by this lawsuit?
- The class action is filed on behalf of those who attended the music festival.
How much money are you asking for?
- That will be determined at a later time, as the case progresses.
Why has the Brady Center filed this lawsuit?
- The Plaintiffs need and are entitled to be compensated and to have their injuries diagnosed and treated.
- There is a long tradition of utilizing impact litigation to force irresponsible actors to pay for the costs of their conduct, to encourage them and others to act more responsibly in the future.
What are the central arguments of the lawsuit?
- Negligence is the fundamental principle of our civil society and our civil justice system. Negligence demands that every business and person is obligated to act reasonably. The law says you can't act unreasonably to create foreseeable risk of injury to others.
- The complaint alleges that the makers and sellers of these bump stocks acted unreasonably, and dangerously, by selling a device that had one purpose – to enable people to fire more rounds of ammunition more quickly. Combined with high capacity magazines, they enabled this killer to fire about 9 rounds a second.
- The complaint alleges that the sellers of bump stocks evaded the law, and that they knew that it was likely that these devices would be used by criminals.
- The complaint alleges that if the sellers had used reasonable care, the damage would have been less, probably far less. In fact, the shooting may not have happened at all, as we've seen that mass killers tend to launch their assaults only when they're emboldened by an arsenal.
- The complaint alleges that they may be liable under Nevada law of negligence, products liability, and public nuisance.
What damages is the lawsuit seeking?
- We are seeking medical monitoring to provide medical and psychological assistance for people affected by the shooting.
- We are also seeking punitive damages, because of the defendants' egregious and dangerous actions.
How could a lawsuit like this one prevent future mass shootings?
- By holding makers and sellers of bump stocks accountable, they will be forced to internalize the costs of their conduct, and act more responsibly in the future, and it sends a message to others who are looking to skirt or subvert the law.
Does this lawsuit interfere with the second amendment?
- This lawsuit does not in any way challenge the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms.
Does this lawsuit infringe on businesses' rights to sell a commodity?
- This lawsuit also does not challenge in any way the right of responsible companies to operate a business of selling guns or lawful accessories to law-abiding citizens.
Some may interpret this as an attempt to hold someone accountable other than the killer, what is your response?
- This law in absolutely no way excuses what the killer did. No one feels more strongly about his horrific acts than our clients. But those who enable and facilitate killers like that, and choose to profit off of them while endangering us all, must pay the consequences. Otherwise, they will keep on endangering us, because it's all profit to them, and other people pay the cost.
###Read The Full Complaint