A public interest law firm filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against gun manufacturers, knife makers, and people and businesses with large rocks and other potentially deadly weapons on their properties. The suit alleges that these parties are responsible for gun-, knife-, and rock-related deaths and assaults.
Krawell & Associates, based in Massachusetts, filed the suit. Krawell is seeking $300 billion to establish victims’ relief funds for violence caused by guns, knives, and large rocks.
The complaint also seeks to extend responsibility for crime and violence to homeowners and businesses with rocks, nails, and other dangerous items on their property.
“When an individual knowingly and willingly commits a crime of their own doing, we must find out who is responsible, in order to place blame and seek justice,” said Carl Agley, lead attorney in the suit. “Because criminals use guns, knives, metal pipes, rocks, and other weapons, we can identify where the blame clearly and logically lies: with those who make such weapons or have them on their property.”
Automobile plants and dealerships are also named as defendants in the suit.
“Numerous individuals are killed or injured every year in automobile accidents, sometimes even deliberately run over by motorists, and that is simply unacceptable,” said Agley. The lawsuit alleges that automobile makers knowingly produced, and dealerships sold, a product that could be used for harmful purposes.
Because the lawsuit seeks compensation for the injuries and deaths caused by a variety of products, many businesses and homeowners could be forced to pay.
“If you own property containing rocks, sticks, or other harmful materials that someone could use to commit violence against someone, you are liable,” Agley said. “This is true even if you own something potentially dangerous inside your home which someone could use as a weapon after breaking in and taking it.”
Hardware stores are particularly responsible for the dangerous products they sell, Agley said. Everything from circular saws and drills have been named in the lawsuit.
Many of these products come with warning labels. But too often, Agley says, the products without such labels can be the most dangerous.
“The majority of common household products – which can be purchased at most hardware stores – do not contain these sorts of vital warnings,” he said. “Whose fault is it when someone assaults someone else with a tape measure? Obviously, the maker of that tape measure.”
Anthony Smith of the National Product Safety and Efficiency Association says many of the Krawell firm’s claims are exaggerated.
“Not everything listed in this complaint is dangerous under normal operating conditions, and that is the major flaw with this suit,” Smith said. “This organization is suing paper manufacturers because people get paper cuts. Even companies that sell mirrors are targeted because some people get depressed when they see themselves in the mirror, which they claim causes emotional distress.”
Smith argues that Krawell is also trying to place blame on the wrong people.
“If people are actually hurt by these products, which I highly doubt, it’s not the manufacturers’ fault,” he said.
The lawsuit lists over 15,000 common household products and natural items, such as rocks, which can cause “anything ranging from minor injury to death.”
In addition to the monetary damages, Agley hopes to require extensive warning labels for every product listed in the suit. The labels, he argues, must warn of all possible dangers.
“Companies must be held accountable for making products that can be used improperly or as weapons, even if the chance of them being used that way is small,” said Agley. “If there is some possible way of using an item which can harm someone else, the public has the right to know.”