Livingston Law Firm Files Amicus Curiae Brief In The Pennsylvania Supreme Court For The National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.
Livingston Law Firm shareholders Craig Livingston and Crystal Van Der Putten today filed an amicus curiae brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of client The National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. in the case of Gustafson v. Springfield Inc., et al. At issue in Gustafson is the application of the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) [15 U.S.C. §§ 7901, et seq.] to a wrongful death action in which a Springfield Arms pistol was used by a teenage boy who accidentally shot and killed his friend and who was thereafter adjudicated a delinquent minor for involuntary manslaughter. Congress enacted the PLCAA in 2005 to prevent lawsuits against manufacturers and sellers of firearms and ammunition when those products are unlawfully or criminally misused. The trial court dismissed the case citing the PLCAA, but the intermediate appellate court reversed. The reversal was upheld by an en banc panel. In its supreme court brief, LLF argued that the product liability exception in the PLCAA – an exception allowing traditional design and manufacturing defect claims to proceed – was inapplicable because the underlying shooting death was the result of a volitional act which constituted a criminal offense, even though the shooter believed the pistol was unloaded when he pointed it at the decedent and deliberately pulled the trigger. Further briefing in the Pennsylvania supreme court is expected and a decision is unlikely until later this year.