California Gun Case Yields $50.9 Million Verdict

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A boy paralyzed nine years ago in an accidental shooting was awarded $50.9 million yesterday by an Alameda County, California jury that held the gunmaker largely responsible for the tragedy.

Brandon Maxfield, now 16, of Willits, Ca., has been a quadriplegic since being shot in the jaw by a baby-sitter who was trying to unload a Bryco/Jennings pistol.

The jury still must decide what share of the award each of the defendants must pay.

Plaintiffs successfully showed that the semiautomatic pistol, a cheap model commonly known as a Saturday Night Special, was defective.

“This is one of the first juries ever to hold any gun manufacturer responsible for a flaw in its design,” said Victoria Ni of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.

A bill pending in Congress supported the National Rifle Association and the gun industry would wipe out virtually all civil liability for gun manufacturers and distributors. It has passed the House and is expected to clear the Senate.


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