Shootings Underscore Suit Against Gun Makers | News | HMG

Deadly Dallas Shootings Underscore Lawsuit against Gun Makers

August 31, 2017

Source:  Lawyers and, by Brenda Craig

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Top attorney Bob Hilliard was clearly shaken following the deadly rifle rampage by a rooftop sniper that killed five law enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas. Ironically, Hilliard's firm is days away from filing a lawsuit against gun manufacturers on behalf of victims of the Orlando nightclub AK-47 assault rifle shooting.

Now, another massive shooting involving a military-style weapon, this time in his home state of Texas. His voice was low and steady as he spoke to LawyersandSettlements.

"To me this just drives home the exclamation point that there is no place in the United States for assault rifles. Law enforcement, these officers, are not trained or equipped for snipers on the roof," says Hilliard, from the firm of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP, headquartered in Corpus Christie, Texas

Hilliard has been retained by the families of several victims of the June 12, 2016 gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in a bizarre hostage taking and killing spree by a man with an AR-15 assault rifle and Glock handgun.

Although Congress, egged on by the NRA, passed a law prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers, Hilliard's team believes there are grounds for legal action under the Alien Court Claims Act.

"One of the Orlando victims had three young children," says Hilliard. The lawsuit prohibition against gun manufacturers makes an exception for minors who have a claim. So there is a negligent entrustment claim against the gun manufacturers in Orlando.

The defendants in the suit are Glock Inc. of Smyrna, Georgia, and Sig Sauer, the makers of the AR-15, of Germany.

In addition, one of the victims was a Mexican national and Hilliard argues that "He can make a claim under the Alien Court Claims Act." It says a cause of action exists if international law is violated by the cause of the alien's injuries. When you survey the world, you see the United States is in the extreme minority in allowing its citizens to legally own military-grade assault rifles.

Mr. Hilliard is joining forces in the litigation with other prominent national lawyers. These include Steve Berman, of Seattle- and Boston-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Mr. Berman noted, "For too long, Big Slaughter and its paid allies have hijacked the national conversation about constitutional rights. The Second Amendment does not include the right to aggressively market unsafe, military-style weapons to civilians."

Lawsuits can often turn the tide, and the tide is right for turning after the deadly night in Dallas argues Hilliard.

"Sometimes the law lags behind what is right and the nation is grieving today because of Dallas. For some reason we view things differently when we see the folks protecting us and our families gunned down like so many of us have been. I think this is the moment. Everything changes after Dallas," says Hilliard.

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