P320 – Defective Gun Lawsuits Against Gunmaker Sig Sauer

May 14, 2022

For years, firearms manufacturer Sig Sauer has been the subject of many defective gun cases. Users claim the P320 discharges accidentally. Read on for more info.

Are you a gun owner looking for product liability lawyers to file a lawsuit against a defective gun manufacturer? You’re probably not alone. Over the years, numerous Americans have sustained gunshot injuries from faulty firearms. These cases are fast becoming a public safety concern.

Injury facts from the National Safety Council (NSC) reveal 45,222 gun-related fatalities in 2020 alone. Sadly, this number amounts to a 13.9% increase from the 39,707 firearm-related deaths in 2019. Additionally, 1% of these fatalities were preventable or due to accidental discharges. From 2011 to 2022, the total number of preventable gun-related fatalities totaled 535.

When you purchase a gun, you expect manufacturers to strictly adhere to the required safety standards. Unfortunately, many preventable gunshot fatalities and injuries are due to defective firearms. A notable case is the popular P320 pistol which has been the subject of legal issues for a while now. We’ll let you in on the details in this article.

Legal Cases Against Gun Maker, Sig Sauer for Manufacturing Defective P320 Pistol 

H&O Holding is the parent company of three Sig Sauer sister companies known for producing weapons like rifles, pistols, airguns, etc. The American SIG Sauer, Inc is a popular name in the country’s gun industry. This firearms manufacturer is the producer of the P320 handgun, which it describes as highly desired in the U.S. market. As a result, many law enforcement agencies and the U.S. military have wielded this weapon.

However, many law enforcement officers and  P320 owners have reported that the gun goes off even without a trigger pull. This discharge without warning resulted in near-fatal injuries. As a result, they claimed damages against Sig Sauer for manufacturing the defective P320 and giving inadequate warnings.

These are some of the documented cases:

Detective Brittney Hilton

Detective Brittney Hilton, a police officer with the Bridge City, Texas, Police Department, has sued Sig Sauer for damages. This happened after she sustained severe wounds from her holstered P320 that went off on its own. The accident occurred in December 2020.

Det. Hilton told ABC News that the service gun was in her purse when it discharged without her pulling the trigger. In her words, “Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have believed that my gun would just have shot me.” 

Thomas Ahern 

Thomas Ahern filed a federal lawsuit in Boston, Massachusetts, against Sig Sauer. Ahern, a police lieutenant, revealed that his P320 fired on its own in the presence of six other law enforcement agents. Fortunately, no one sustained injuries in the accident.

Virginia Sheriff’s Deputy Marcie Vadnais 

Marcie Vadnais reported that she sustained thigh injuries in 2018 after her holstered pistol went off. This happened as she attempted to remove the gun from her belt. The gun discharged a bullet into her upper right thigh and shattered her femur in half. As a result, she may never walk unaided again.

Ashley Catatao and Walter Collette

Somerville police officer Ashley Catatao is among the numerous police officers with complaints relating to the Sig Sauer P320. Her gun was holstered in her duty belt when it went off without contact with anything. She sustained a non-life-threatening flesh wound in her leg as a result.

Another Somerville police officer, Walter Collette, sued the gun manufacturers. He claimed he sustained a severe injury after his P320 discharged on its own and a bullet hit his lower leg.

Attorney Stephen Semenza from Michael Kelly is currently working on these 2 cases.

Bob Northrop

Bob Northrop is a veteran Tampa law enforcement agent with 49 years of combined law enforcement experience. ABC Action News reported that Northrop’s holstered P320 went off on its own as he adjusted his service belt to place a set of keys in their position.

Northrop said that his gun went off immediately after touching it, leaving him frightened. He sustained permanent injuries and underwent emergency surgery after the bullet shattered his leg and ankle bones. 

Despite the numerous reports claiming that the P320 is defective, Sig Sauer has denied liability. However, according to Northrop’s lawsuit, the company started a “Safety without Compromise” campaign.

During the campaign, Sig Sauer stated that the “P320 won’t fire unless you want it to.” In an August 2017 press release, the company said, “the P320 meets and exceeds all U.S. standards for safety.” However, Sig Sauer proceeded on a “voluntary upgrade program” in the same year where P320 gun owners returned their firearms for improvement.

Joshua Harrison, a firearms expert, believes that the company did such an extensive upgrade because they knew the gun was defective. Also, Peter Villani, a firearms instructor and Hilton’s expert witness, affirms that the P320 has manufacturing issues and design flaws.

Everything Gun Owners Must Know About Defective P320 Service Weapon Lawsuits 

Product liability laws hold manufacturers responsible for any harm a customer suffers due to their defective products. This typically results from design, manufacturing, or communication defects.

In manufacturing defects, a mistake in the production process leads to a result the manufacturers didn’t intend. Usually, manufacturing defects only occur in a few products or specific units.

However, the error is in the original plan or design with design defects. As such, even if nothing goes wrong in the production process, the gun will remain a hazard to consumers.

Communication defects arise when a producer relays false information to the public. It also occurs when they fail to warn consumers about the hidden dangers of using their products.

When it comes to firearms, these are the common defects you may notice:

  • Barrel failure 
  • Detective safety features (trigger safety malfunction)
  • Rifle drop 
  • Defective gun accessories 
  • Faulty chamber indicator 
  • Hair-trigger 

Sometimes, a firearm malfunction wouldn’t cause any injuries. For example, in a misfire, the firearm doesn’t discharge even after pressing the trigger. However, the gun owner may suffer fatal or severe injuries in other cases.

Injury victims in defective firearm cases will qualify for compensation when they can prove that:

  • The gun was faulty 
  • They sustained injuries 
  • The injuries were due to the defective gun

Common types of compensation in a product liability case include:

  • Economic damages (lost wages, medical bills, etc.)
  • Non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, etc.)
  • Punitive damages

Was Your Gunshot Wound Due to Unintended Discharge From a Defective Gun? We May Be Able to Help

Did your gun go off on its own and cause you severe injuries? Don’t pass it off as a simple mistake. Many times, it may be due to the manufacturer’s negligence. In such cases, you deserve maximum compensation for your injuries.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers at Michael Kelly can assess your case for free. We’ll determine your eligibility for an injury claim/lawsuit and advise you based on our findings. We’re with you in every step to ensure you get justice for your pain. Feel free to call our law office to learn more about how we can help your case.

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.