The Shooter’s Log has previously covered a suit in which U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch of Denver found that the plaintiffs and lawyers who sued Sportsman’s Guide and Lucky Gunner LLC for selling supplies to convicted Aurora movie-theater shooter James Holmes, should pay the companies’ legal fees in the family’s unsuccessful civil suit against the firearms firms.
Now the same judge has actually totaled up those legal fees, determined their reasonableness, and issued an order for the plaintiffs to pay various amounts. The named plaintiffs are Sandy Phillips and Lonnie Phillips, and by association, the Brady Center, according to the judge.
Judge Matsch added, “The named plaintiffs have active roles in the Brady Center as shown in the attachments to LuckyGunner’s reply and in press releases from the Brady Center heralding the filing of their lawsuit and identifying three of its lawyers as representing the plaintiffs. Two of those attorneys attended oral argument on the defendants’ motions and signed pleadings filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the attorneys from Arnold & Porter.” In addition, Matsch added, “Those who ignite a fire should be responsible for the cost of suppressing it before it becomes a conflagration. The Brady Center may be pursuing a righteous cause, but the defendants should not have to bear the burden of defending themselves in this inappropriate forum.” From the order, filed June 17, 2015: Defendant LuckyGunner, d/b/a/ Bulkammo.com is awarded the amount of $111,971.10 for its fees and costs of defending this action, and it is FURTHER ORDERED that The Sportsman’s Guide’s motion for fees and costs is granted. Defendant The Sportsman’s Guide is awarded the amount of $59,060.87 for its fees and costs of defending this action, and it is Further ORDERED that Defendant Platt’s amended motion for attorneys fees [#55] is granted. Defendant Brian Platt d/b/a BTP Arms is awarded the amount of $31,969.89 for his fees and costs of defending this action. After the order, Lucky Gunner released a statement: The Brady Center recently organized a lawsuit against us. Their stated goal was to put us out of business, and we believe, to outlaw the sale of ammunition online by judicial decree. After several months of spending our own money defending the lawsuit, it was dismissed and the judge awarded us $111,971.10 as a partial reimbursement for our legal fees. We’re a small team of hardworking people, and we took the Brady Center’s assault against us and the 2nd Amendment very seriously. So far, we’ve spent more than $150,000 of our own money to hire the best attorneys we could find. Our goal was to protect our livelihood and to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans to responsibly buy and sell ammunition online. We believe this lawsuit was just one step in the direction of sidestepping Congress and outlawing the sale of ammunition online. As stated by the judge in his ruling: “It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants [Lucky Gunner] into the Colorado court… appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order.” The Brady Center predictably appealed the judge’s ruling and we are prepared to continue defending your rights and ours. While it is not yet clear when the $111,971.10 fee reimbursement will be paid, we are going to donate 100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment. We will fight to recover these funds from the Brady Center and to hold the Brady Center responsible for yet another frivolous lawsuit. The company said in its statement that it will cut checks to each organization receiving votes on a percentage basis. In other words, if “Organization A” gets 5% of the vote, it will receive 5% of whatever is recovered.
If you want to have a voice in who gets the money Lucky Gunner has pledged, visit its website. Voting ends on August 1, 2015.
Will Brady Center ever pay any legal fees in this case? Tell us your forecast in the comments section below.
[This post was updated July 19 to change the status of James Holmes from “alleged” shooter to “convicted” shooter. More information on his trial is here. H/T to davud for pointing that out. — Woody]