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McCarthy v. Olin Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
119 F.3d 148 (1997)


Facts

Colin Ferguson boarded a commuter train in New York City carrying a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. The handgun was loaded with Winchester Black Talon bullets, manufactured by Olin Corporation (Olin) (defendant). Black Talons were designed to open upon impact, like talons, to tear into the flesh of their victims. In this way, Black Talons maximized the wounds being inflicted. Olin marketed and sold Black Talons to the general public for about one year, until public outcry caused Olin to restrict its sales of the bullets to exclusively law-enforcement personnel. Ferguson had purchased his Black Talons shortly before they were withdrawn from the market. Ferguson opened fire on a train’s passengers, killing six and wounding 19. Dennis McCarthy was among those killed. McCarthy’s estate, together with survivors Kevin McCarthy and Maryanne Phillips (plaintiffs), sued Olin for negligence. Olin moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The district court granted Olin’s motion, finding that Olin owed no duty of care to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs appealed.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Meskill, J.)

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Dissent (Calabresi, J.)

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