The California attorney general has intervened in a federal bankruptcy case in a way that could help a teenager shut down the manufacturer of a semiautomatic handgun with a design flaw that has left the boy mostly paralyzed since the age of 7, the New York Times says. California told a federal bankruptcy judge in Florida yesterday that Paul Jimenez, the man the judge tentatively approved to buy the manufacturer, was ineligible to make guns because he lacked federal and California firearms licenses. California’s intervention could benefit Brandon Maxfield, now 17, who was accidentally shot through the chin and spine in 1994 when his baby sitter tried to unload a .38-caliber handgun owned by Brandon’s parents. Last year Brandon won a record $24 million jury award in Alameda County Court in Oakland, Calif., against manufacturer Bryco Arms, and Bryco’s founder and the gun’s designer.
After having helped force Bryco into bankruptcy, Brandon and his attorney want to raise at least $150,000 to buy out the company, a leading makers of inexpensive handguns known as Saturday-night specials, and melt down its inventory of 75,000 handgun frames and slides. Bankruptcy Judge Jerry Funk gave tentative approval last week to the sale of Bryco’s machinery for $150,000 to Jimenez, a former Bryco plant manager.