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Smith & Wesson faces product liability case over gun discharge

It is easy to forget how dangerous some of the products you use in your day-to-day life can be. When an item you are relying on malfunctions, it can be extremely frustrating. However, worse than that, it could end up injuring you or someone else. In New York, many people suffer injuries as the result of using faulty products, and the effects can last a lifetime. Companies should be held accountable when products they produce contain defects that cause dangerous malfunctions.

One man is continuing his fight regarding an alleged defective product incident after his case was initially dismissed. The allegedly defective product in question was a 460XVR revolver which the man was using for target shooting in 2006. The gun allegedly discharged improperly, resulting in serious injuries to the man's face, nose and right eye. He subsequently filed a lawsuit in Ohio against the gun’s manufacturer, Smith & Wesson Corp.

The matter reached Cleveland's U.S. District Court, but this is where difficulties arose. The man’s testimony contradicted that of a mechanical engineer he himself had called as an expert witness. The man had testified that the gun's cylinder was closed at the time of the accident, whereas the engineer gave an opinion that the cylinder was open and that the revolver had a defect that allowed it to be fired with the cylinder open.

The court dismissed the case after ruling that the testimony of the engineer should be excluded because it of its lack of consistency with the man’s testimony The man appealed this decision and a federal appeals court recently ruled that the expert's testimony should have been permitted despite the contradiction. In relation to this ruling, the appeals court reinstated the man’s lawsuit.

It may have happened in another state, but this case reinforces to residents of New York that it can be worth pursuing your case even in the face of adversity. Companies have a responsibility to their customers that should be upheld. Only by challenging negligent companies can defective product incidents be prevented from recurring. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a product liability case and may be able to support you if you choose to seek compensation.

Source: Business Insurance, "Product liability case against Smith & Wesson reinstated on appeal," Judy Greenwald, July 29, 2014

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