Tort Law

2nd Circuit Overturns Injunction Against Southern Gun Shops Accused in NYC Nuisance Suit

A federal appeals court has upheld a default judgment against two Southern gun stores accused of having “New Yorkers’ blood on their hands,” but ruled the injunctions issued against them were overbroad.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, the New York Post reports.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had sued 15 out-of-state gun sellers in 2006, alleging that firearms they sold were being used by criminals in the city and creating a public nuisance. Two of the stores defaulted: Adventure Outdoors of Smyrna, Ga., and Mickalis Pawn Shop of Summerville, S.C.

The two gun sellers had argued a lack of personal jurisdiction, then withdrew from the litigation after their dismissal motions were denied. The trial judge granted an injunction barring further violations of the law and requiring supervision by a court-appointed special master.

The gun sellers forfeited their jurisdictional defense and may not attack the default judgment on that ground, the 2nd Circuit said in its opinion (PDF). But the injunction issued by the trial judge was overbroad, the appeals court concluded, because it barred not only illegal straw purchases but other, unidentified sales practices as well.

The injunction also improperly granted a special master “sweeping delegations of power,” the court said.

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