Delaware: "Gun suit won't be appealed"


December 27, 2002, 11:33 AM

Gun suit won't be appealed

Wilmington seeks help to fight crime
Staff reporter

Wilmington officials will not appeal the recent dismissal of the city's lawsuit against the gun industry, a decision that ends the 3-year-old case, Mayor James M. Baker said Thursday.

In his announcement, Baker said he would like to meet with gun makers to work on ways to reduce handgun violence.

"It is our hope that as partners rather than litigants we can create new ways to eliminate criminal possession and use of firearms," he said in a letter sent Thursday to the suit's 15 defendants.

Lawrence G. Keane, vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc., a trade association and a defendant in the case, praised the city's decision and said he would accept Baker's invitation.

"We look forward to having the opportunity to work cooperatively with the city of Wilmington on our shared goals of further reducing accidental deaths that involve firearms," he said. "I'm willing to meet with the mayor on behalf of the industry at any time."

The 1999 suit claimed the defendants - including prominent handgun makers Smith & Wesson, Colt and Glock - could make their guns safer and distribute them in ways that would prevent them from falling into criminals' hands. City officials asked to recoup more than $1 million spent to investigate 263 shootings from 1997 to 2000.

Superior Court Judge Fred S. Silverman dismissed the case on Dec. 4, saying a common law that forbids municipalities from recovering money for services paid by taxes meant the city could not ask for police overtime and emergency medical costs from the gun manufacturers.

Baker said he accepted Silverman's decision, but still believes that the gun industry could do a better job policing itself.

"You have the means and the ability to educate the public about the dangers of irresponsible firearm distribution, use and ownership," he said in the letters.

Wilmington is one of 32 cities and counties nationwide that have sued gun makers. Seven cases have been dismissed, and the rest are in various phases of litigation.

The Castano Safe Gun Litigation Group, a consortium of attorneys, handled the case for Wilmington on a contingency basis.

Reach Adam Taylor at 324-2787 or

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2nd Amendment
December 27, 2002, 12:06 PM
Can we say "pack-mentality"? "Feeding frenzy"? The legalists smelled a little blood and went nuts. Too bad for them the firearms industry, though poorer, turned out to not be nearly such a soft target as the tobacco companies.

Know what's worse than 500 attorneys sinking with a cruiseship?

500 attorneys being rescued from a sinking cruiseship...

With apologies to KS.

El Tejon
December 27, 2002, 12:11 PM
2A, none necessary!

Master Blaster
December 27, 2002, 02:13 PM
The Castano Safe Gun Litigation Group, a consortium of attorneys, handled the case for Wilmington on a contingency basis.

Who are these bottom feeding maggots ?

Do they specialize in suing gun manufacturers (not very lucrative so far), where do they get the money for these contingency fee based suits, and what politicians do they have in their pocket???

Master Blaster
December 27, 2002, 02:36 PM
I will answer my own post, the castano group is a consortium of attorneys comprised of 65 law firms across the country with its HQ in New Orleans La. They sued the Tobacco industry.

Here is a quote from the head of the group at a roundtable of lawyers discussing product liability:

MR. COALE: What I want to do is take you through our strategy. I am going to give you an honest assessment of what we ("we" being the lawyers who have attacked the tobacco industry, and who are now attacking the gun industry) are attempting to accomplish. My group represents five cities in coordination with the other 25 to 30 cities suing the gun industry and is working with several state Attorneys General.

Now, I would preface my remarks with the observation that the other side does the same thing, they just don't admit it. We take these cases, such as tobacco-back in 1994, and then put together a threepronged attack, legal, media, and political. We attacked on these three fronts for five years until they folded and settled. Whether we would have won the cases in court, we will never know, but the bottom line is that we won the war.

We vilified the industry in the media, which wasn't hard to do. We leaked damning documents. We worked with our political friends against the tobacco industry in Congress and elsewhere. And then we went into court and we used this three-prong attack against the tobacco industry very effectively. I am sure very few in the audience agree with this strategy, but tobacco was an issue we wanted to win, and we did.

We are doing virtually the same thing with the gun industry. We don't have to vilify the gun industry โ€” that is done by others โ€” but we do work with our friends on Capitol Hill and other legislators and other executives to try to coordinate our efforts with them, to try to implement change. People in my group believe that guns can be made safer, and it is not just litigation or legislation, it is both. And we help the legislators; sometimes they help us. In Maryland, they helped Peter Angelos to the tune of changing the law retroactively so we could win his tobacco suit. That may be a bit much.

This is nothing new. Litigation brought safe cars and then safe car legislation. Litigation brought many civil rights in the 1940's and 1950's and 1960's, and then we had legislation, the 1964 Civil Rights Law.

We are not using any new laws; it is just the magnitude of the lawsuits. The laws are the same laws that have been around for decades. Products liability law says that you can't produce a defective design without regard to whether it malfunctions. The failure of gun manufacturers to install safety devices to prevent gun accidents makes guns unreasonably dangerous even if they do shoot bullets correctly. This is what we are claiming in our lawsuits. We are assailing the blindness at the warehouse door that the industry claims when a gun leaves its manufacturing plants: that they have no further responsibility. Well, that is not true. It is not true in the chemical industry; it is not true in a lot of industries. Smith & Wesson, a couple of weeks ago, saw this and is now putting some restraints on its dealers.

But I wanted to tell you about our strategy. Quite honestly, we look at these cases as wars. And the other side may not like that, but that is the way we look at it, and we go and we do everything within the law, and within ethics, to win them. And nowadays that includes using the media, politics and

El Tejon
December 27, 2002, 03:29 PM
If we are at war then why not fire back?

Why no ยง1983 claims? Why no conspiracy to deprive of civil rights suits? Why not find a friendly USA and go after VPC and Sarah Brady with RICO?

LoF works both ways. Why no return fire by us? Now is the time; they will be back.

December 27, 2002, 03:37 PM
we do everything within the law, and within ethics, to win them.
We vilified the industry in the media
We are doing virtually the same thing with the gun industry. We don't have to vilify the gun industry โ€” that is done by others

yep, sounds real ethical to me...

December 27, 2002, 04:07 PM
I wonder if people realize that in all probability (IMHO) the fast food industry, the automobile industry, the alcoholic beverage industry, etc., probably helped the gun manufacturers out. Not because they wanted too, but because out of the fear that they were next. Well, McDonalds was next.

We have way to many lawyers in this country.

December 27, 2002, 04:11 PM
Probably because they'd claim they weren't trying to take away _your_ right to own guns, just prevent persons known to be a public risk, from posessing them. Sort of like putting a cop at every polling place to run a warrant check on all potential voters. One could imagine that turnout would be much reduced among some groups as a result.
Literacy tests and poll taxes lasted as long as they did because they were applied equally, although the effects were not felt that way. An aggressive civil rights lawyer with a bad attitude could probably work up a position against the antis _and_ the legal consortium (aiding and abetting) in the amount of 2 or 3 NDs (National Debts) showing the restrictions on firearms ownership to have an especially adverse impact on minorities and women.
(World to End - Women and Minorities Hardest Hit - NYT)
I would NOT expect the NRA to get involved. :mad:

"I shall return the enemies fire untill he surrenders."
J.P.Jones (I think)

December 27, 2002, 04:30 PM
Castano Safe Gun Litigation
30th Floor, 1100 Poydras St.
New Orleans, La. 70163
Danny Abel, attorney
Christine Cox, press information

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