Plaintiffs in a Sig P320 Lawsuit (infringing-product liability case), number # 17, claim that Sig Sauer has been manufacturing and distributing substandard pistols in violation of the Federal Firearms License (FFL) rule. The complaint further claims that Sig has refused to take measures to ensure the safety of buyers and users of its products. Sig has also violated consumer protection rules by failing to register its products with the federal firearms registries and failing to make adequate assurances to purchasers that products sold are safe. In addition, Sig has not undertaken reasonable steps to ensure that its customers’ Second Amendment rights have been adequately protected from the risk of injury.
In this view quote, the description of the complaint’s legal issue will show why the case has significant potential for a settlement. The claim states, “The general duty of manufacturers is to furnish sufficient safeguards against the risk of handguns being used improperly.” That duty could be satisfied by requiring that manufacturers provide sufficient information about the use of its products, including “a complete description of the operation of the handgun, including a description of the gun, its parts, the manner in which it is disassembled, and its packaging.” Such information would subject manufacturers to suits for misrepresentation of the facts and failures to comply with representations made in advertising and promotion materials.
A view quote is an instruction relating to one of the claims made in a Sig P320 lawsuit (appendix carry). In our view, this instruction should not be treated as an acknowledgment by the company of the existence of a safety mechanism or other information or effectiveness statement. The claim has nothing to do with an effective way to carry a gun. We note that the company does not admit or deny that it provides a safe method to carry a gun. We also note that the suggestion in the reference to a “complete description” is not intended to limit the scope of the instruction itself but to characterize the entire transaction as something akin to a “do it your way.”
If a manufacturer of a product such as a Sig P320 fails to comply with the duty to provide a view quote or instruction manual with the product, then the plaintiff is not entitled to recovery under any theory of liability for that failure. This holds true whether the failure to provide the Sig P320 lawsuit download described above resulted in injury or damage only to the plaintiff. Indeed, if the plaintiff’s injury arose from the failure to comply with the instruction or the failure to obtain and read the instruction manual, there is no negligence on the part of the manufacturer because it is not a question of whether the gun was sold legally or whether it was properly accompanied by proper instructions.
There is an exception to the above rule, however. If the plaintiff had misused the gun or otherwise abused the gun in some way leading to its misuse, then he could recover damages even though the gun did not come with a view quote or instruction manual. The key phrase in this latter statement is “in a manner causing harm.” In other words, if the defendant’s intent was to use the gun improperly, then a case can be brought even though the Sig P320 gun was not purchased with a view quote or instruction manual.
For example, consider a scenario in which a plaintiff bought a Sig P320 with a view quote included with the gun package but did not use it properly or did not know how to properly use the gun. He then negligently overloads the trigger bar with ammo in order to “shoot” a target using the weapon without using the safety precautions associated with using a semi-automatic firearm. This case may well involve a violation of the statute of limitations (or a common law violation). Under this view, if the victim was properly warned that overload of the trigger would cause the gun to go off when it was not loaded, then he could bring a civil suit against the manufacturer of the Sig P320. If, on the other hand, the manufacturer ignored the warning and overload occurred anyway, then the defendant could escape liability by arguing that the statute of limitations did not apply because the victim was not advising that the overload was dangerous. Either way, the outcome of the case will depend on the state of the law as to whether the defendant was advised that the overload was dangerous and did not warn the plaintiff that the overload might happen.