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Burleson v. RSR Group Florida, Inc.

Alabama Supreme Court
981 So.2d 1109 (2007)


Facts

Stanley Burleson purchased a German single-action revolver from Mack Brown d/b/a The Trading Post (defendant) in 1985. The revolver was initially imported by Sportarms of Florida (defendant) and then sold to RSR Wholesale Guns Dallas, Inc. (defendant), before being sold to The Trading Post. The revolver holds six cartridges and is fired by manually placing the hammer into the full cock position and pulling the trigger. The revolver also has a manual safety that may be engaged. When engaged, the safety blocks the hammer from hitting the firing pin, which prevents the revolver from firing. The revolver could also be fired if the manual safety was disengaged, the hammer was resting in the safety position against the head of the firing pin, and force was applied to the back of the hammer. Burleson was generally safety conscious and taught his son the importance of never keeping a live-round chamber in line with the hammer and firing pin. Burleson also followed a rule that all firearms in the house be stored unloaded. However, as Burleson was hanging the revolver on a gun rack in his home, the revolver fell out of its holster, struck a desk, and fired. The bullet hit Burleson in the stomach and caused his death. Burleson’s estate (plaintiff) sued Sportarms of Florida, RSR, and the Trading Post, alleging negligence under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine. RSR filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Burleson was contributorily negligent. The trial court granted the motion, and Burleson’s estate appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bolin, J.)

Dissent (Cobb, C.J.)

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