Wisconsin Gun Shop to Pay $1M to Settle Officers’ Lawsuit

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney: $1M settlement reached in wounded officers’ lawsuit against Wisconsin gun store.

A Wisconsin gun shop will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit in which a jury found it negligently sold a gun used to injure two Milwaukee police officers, the store’s attorney said. The Journal Sentinel for two years has investigated how Congress has created special rules for gun stores that protect even the biggest sellers of guns to criminals. The settlement eliminates what was expected to be a yearslong appeal of an October verdict in which jurors awarded Officer Bryan Norberg and former Officer Graham Kunisch nearly $6 million. Out of the $1 million settlement, Kunisch, who has retired from the department on duty disability, will receive $216,120, while Norberg will receive $74,427. It was only the second such lawsuit to get to the jury stage at trial, with the other case having been found in favour of a gun shop in Alaska in the summer.

Burton was too young legally to buy a firearm but had gone into the store with 21-year-old acquaintance Jacob Collins and pointed out the semi-automatic pistol he wanted from the display case, an act that was caught on surveillance tape. Investigators said Burton got the weapon, a Taurus .40-caliber handgun, a month earlier, after giving $40 to another man, Jacob Collins, to make the purchase at the store in West Milwaukee. The clerk in the store then helped Collins fill out federal forms, correcting certain entries, which betrayed the fact that the younger man was the intended recipient, the court heard.

Following the jury’s verdict, Vogts issued a statement saying, “significant legal issues were decided in the case that impacted the evidence the jury was permitted to consider and the legal standards they were told to apply. They said the owner at the time of the sale, Adam Allan, couldn’t be held financially responsible for crimes connected to a weapon sold at his shop and that the clerk who sold the weapon didn’t intentionally commit a crime.

A document filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court this week detailed the settlement and how the money from West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. will be distributed. Besides the money going to the officers, the City of Milwaukee, which paid about $652,000 in workman’s comp claims to the officers, will get about $387,000 in the settlement.

Dunphy argued the West Milwaukee gun dealer and its owner, Adam Allan, “failed miserably” in its responsibility to act as gatekeeper of a potentially deadly product.

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