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Too much time has passed for man to sue after rifle accident, 7th Circuit says

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A lawsuit against a rifle manufacturer by an injured user was filed outside Indiana’s 10-year statute of repose for products-liability actions, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The man’s modification to his rifle did not extend the time he had to sue.  

Adam Hartman received a muzzleloading rifle gun from his father in 1994. In 2008, Hartman installed a kit on his gun that was sold by the maker of the rifle that modified the muzzleloader and enabled it to ignite new propellants more reliably. The day after he added the kit, the gun unexpectedly discharged while he was trying to load it, causing the ramrod and a patched round ball to pass through his hands and arm.

He sued KR Warranty, the rifle and kit maker, and EBSCO Industries Inc., which had stock in KR Warranty, and another company. The District Court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding the statute of repose in Indiana barred his negligence and strict liability claims.

Hartman’s lawsuit could survive if he could prove the lawsuit fell under one of the two exceptions to the statute: where a manufacturer refurbishes a product to extend its useful life or where a defective new component is incorporated into the old product.

His lawsuit fails under the first exception because he could not show the kit he used to upgrade his rifle in 2008 extended the useful life of his gun. The judges also doubted that the statute of repose could ever be reset by a user-installed component like the conversion kit in question.

And the lawsuit also can’t survive under the second exception, the 7th Circuit pointed out. Its survival depends on testimony by Hartman’s expert, Steven Howard, that was excluded by the District Court. Howard had testified, among other things, that the upgraded conversion kit breech plug did increase the likelihood of latent embers getting trapped and prematurely igniting the newly loaded propellant. But the District Court didn’t admit this testimony because his theory wasn’t supported by evidence.

The 7th Circuit also pointed out that even if Hartman were able to survive summary judgment against KR Warranty, he would have no case against EBSCO, as that company had nothing to do with the rifle or the conversion kit.

The case is Adam Hartman v. EBSCO Industries Inc., et al, 13-3398.

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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