If I sell you a gun, and you use it on someone, should I be liable? A jury in this case said “yes,” in particular because the sale itself was illegal. We’re posting this not as part of the “are guns good or bad” debate that has engulfed the US, but because it’s an interesting business ethics case.
Note that while the owners of the store were also named in the suit, “the verdict applies only to Badger Guns as a corporate entity.” Presumably it was thought that the store, not the individuals, would be more likely to be able to cough up the big money. This is one case, in other words, in which the notion of corporate personhood was essential for accountability. >>>
LINK: Two Officers Were Shot; Wisconsin Store Liable for Gun Sale (by Erik Eckholm for NYT)
A jury late Tuesday awarded more than $5 million in damages to two police officers who were severely wounded with a pistol that a local gun shop sold to a straw buyer in 2009.
The jury found that the store had been seriously negligent in selling the gun when there were signs that the ostensible purchaser was fronting for an 18-year-old who accompanied him to the store.
One month after the purchase, the 18-year-old, Julius Burton, shot Officer Bryan Norberg in the face and Officer Graham Kunisch in the head and body, leaving him with brain damage and a destroyed eye….
…The jury awarded about $1.2 million in damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering to Officer Norberg and about $3.2 million in damages to Mr. Kunisch, Mr. Dunphy said. It also awarded them $730,000 in punitive damages…..
What do you think?