Smith v. Ron's Guns Inc.
A court can credit evidence that a gun that lacked any mechanical defects and that had a safety mechanism that functioned at the time of sale was not "unreasonably dangerous." In August 2005, Jeffrey Feaster allegedly purchased a .38-caliber firearm from the defendant, Ron's Guns Inc. Feaster went to a friend's house to shoot the gun. When he was about to shoot the gun, his friend experienced a problem with his motor vehicle. Feaster placed the gun in his pocket, without shooting, went home and went to bed. The following morning, Marian Smith decided to do the laundry. Allegedly, she picked up and dropped Feaster's pants, causing the gun to fire and a bullet to discharge. Smith was shot, and she sued Ron's Guns Inc. The defendant moved for summary judgment and argued that there was no evidence that Ron's Guns acted with "reckless indifference" toward consumers. A product is unreasonably dangerous only if the product is dangerous to an extent beyond that contemplated by the ordinary consumer. The plaintiff's expert, Greg Danas, admitted that the gun apparently did not have any manufacturing defects. Danas stated that the gun's safety mechanism functioned. The court credited the evidence that the gun had a functional safety mechanism and no mechanical defects. There was no evidence that the gun was "unreasonably dangerous," pursuant to the Connecticut Product Liability Act. There also was no evidence that Ron's Guns breached an express or implied warranty. The court found that the sole proximate cause of the accident was Feaster's conduct. "Mr. Feaster," wrote the court, "knew that he should not have left a loaded gun in his pants with the hammer down." The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.