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Judge rules in SIG Sauer’s favor in accidental shooting lawsuit

Sig Sauer P320 (Christine Peterson/TNS)

A federal judge has ruled in gunmaker SIG Sauer’s favor in a product liability lawsuit brought by a Hillsborough man, who alleged he was hit in the leg by a bullet because his pistol fired without pulling the trigger.

The plaintiff, Kyle Guay, alleged SIG Sauer sold the P320 pistol in an unreasonably dangerous condition. The lawsuit claimed the pistol has a defect, allowing it to fire without the trigger being pulled under certain conditions.

Last week, Judge Landya McCafferty ruled Guay failed to prove SIG Sauer knew an advertisement — a “Safety Without Compromise” notice that Guay said he read on the gunmaker’s website before purchasing his P320 in December 2016 — was false.

In that advertisement, SIG Sauer promised the P320 “won’t fire unless you want it to.”

SIG Sauer, headquartered in Newington, is known for producing weapons for the military and law enforcement.

Court documents show Guay introduced video footage of an alleged misfire of a P320 in Roscommon, Michigan, that occurred on Feb. 4, 2016. The video was from the bodycam of Officer Michael Richardson of the Roscommon Sheriff’s Department.

The video begins with Officer Richardson sitting in his cruiser on the side of a highway to help a car stranded in a snowstorm. The video shows Officer Richardson exiting his cruiser when suddenly his holstered P320 fires.

In his incident report, dated Feb. 4, 2016, Officer Richardson wrote: “As I exited the patrol vehicle, my weapon discharged while being completely in the holster.”

After the incident, a sergeant with the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department investigated. The sergeant found that, as Officer Richardson rose to exit his car, the driver’s side seatbelt somehow dislodged the trigger, court documents show. At trial, the Sheriff Department’s findings were presented in the form of an affidavit.

Even though the Roscommon incident occurred in February 2016, there was no evidence that SIG Sauer became aware of the incident (or saw the video) close in time to the incident,” writes McCafferty in her ruling.

Court documents show the only evidence introduced at trial that anyone at SIG Sauer had seen the Roscommon video was a deposition of a SIG Sauer corporate executive that took place on Jan. 10, 2019, which established that employees at SIG Sauer had watched the Roscommon bodycam video and the company had, at one time, a copy of it in its possession.

But the evidence at trial did not establish the date on which SIG Sauer first became aware of the incident, McCafferty writes.

Other than Guay’s testimony and the video, Guay introduced no other evidence about specific P320s and alleged misfires, court documents show.

“The strongest evidence introduced at trial that SIG Sauer knew or should have known that the P320 could potentially fire without an intentional trigger pull is the Roscommon incident,” McCafferty writes. “However, there was no evidence introduced at trial to show that SIG Sauer was aware of the Roscommon incident at the relevant time: in December 2016, when Guay purchased his P320 in reliance upon the advertisement. The evidence only established that SIG Sauer had seen the Roscommon video by January 10, 2019, more than three years after Guay purchased his gun.”

In his lawsuit, Guay — who said he has “substantial firearms experience” — claims he was taking off his SIG Sauer holster with his SIG P320 secured in it on Jan. 28, 2020, “when the pistol fired and hit him in the right thigh without him ever touching the trigger.”

“The hollow point bullet it discharged left a gaping wound in his thigh, caused nerve damage, and left pieces of the blown apart holster across the floor,” the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit claims Guay suffered “severe, permanent physical injury and disfigurement.”

Guay was seeking double or triple damages for injuries suffered and his loss of employment.


(c) 2022 The New Hampshire Union Leader

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