An Oregon trial court ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a gun store and an online gun dealer for their role in selling guns used in a crime spree, in a case that is the first of its kind in Oregon.  Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael Greenlick denied the gun sellers’ motions to dismiss a case brought by the family of Kirsten Englund, who was shot to death in 2013 by the man who had obtained these guns.  The judge ruled that a federal gun industry protection law – the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act – does not prohibit the Englunds’ case.  The lawsuit now proceeds to discovery.   

Case Background

In January 2016, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Kirsten Englund, a woman who was murdered in Oregon in 2013.  The lawsuit asserted negligence and public nuisance claims against the entities and individuals that together provided the firearms that were used to kill Ms. Englund, including an online gun dealer, a local Oregon gun dealer and its owner, and the mother of the shooter, who the complaint alleged acted as a straw purchaser for her son.  In October 2016, the Estate of Kirsten Englund settled its claims with the shooter’s mother, and the Estate’s claims against the two gun dealers are ongoing.  

Cohen Milstein, which is handling this matter pro bono, partnered in this matter with the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and D’Amore Law Group, P.C. in Oregon. 

The Brady Center’s press release regarding this lawsuit can be viewed here

The complaint was filed in Oregon state court on January 7, 2016 and can be viewed here.