Sometimes, it’s simply more cost-effective for companies to settle a civil lawsuit with a payoff than it is to pay the crushing legal costs of defending yourself in court. It’s sad that being in the right is utterly irrelevant, but that’s simply the way our sue-happy civil court system in this Republic is regretfully designed to operate.
We’re seeing that play out in California right now, as Glock is settling a case with a former LAPD officer who sued Glock for a negligent discharge shooting that left him paralyzed.
Attorneys for a gun manufacturer and a retired LAPD officer who was paralyzed when his 3-year-old son accidentally fired the officer’s handgun while riding in the family truck told a judge Wednesday a settlement was reached in the ex-lawman’s lawsuit.
The announcement came as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger was about to begin the process of selecting a jury for trial of the lawsuit brought in July 2008 by then-Officer Enrique Herrera Chavez and his wife, Leonora Aduna Chavez, against Glock Inc. and the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club.
No settlement terms were divulged.
Chavez, now 45, was off duty when he was shot on July 11, 2006, while driving his Ford Ranger near Harbor Boulevard and La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. The former Marine, who joined the LAPD in 1996, was on his way to drop off his son, Collin, with a family member before testifying in a court case.
The boy was able to get hold of his father’s weapon while sitting in the back seat and shot the officer in the back. Chavez, who was assigned to the Newton Division, was rendered a paraplegic paralyzed from the waist down.
Judge Kevin Brazile granted a defense motion in July 2010 dismissing the entire case, but his ruling was partially reversed on appeal. The Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club sold Chavez the Glock 21 firearm in 2003.
The former officer alleged the gun and hip holster were negligently designed without a grip safety and that it required only minimal pressure to discharge.
“In fact, the trigger energy on the Glock is so low that it was easier to pull the trigger on the Glock than on cheap, plastic toy guns ordered off the Internet,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated in their court papers.
Defense attorneys countered that Chavez admitted he forgot the gun was in the back seat when he put his son in the truck, but not in a car seat as required by law. He also did not disassemble it so it would be inoperable, they said.
Do you know who bears 100% responsibility for the off-duty negligent discharge shooting of LAPD officer Enrique Herrera Chavez? Enrique Herrera Chavez bears that responsibility.
In a case that eerily reminds us of the high profile shooting of Florida mother Jamie Gilt by her child, Chavez left his loaded service weapon in the back seat of his car with an unsecured child.
This was grossly incompetent parenting and gun handling that was also in clear violation of his training as a police officer and every bit of advice provided by the firearms manufacturing and training industries regarding safe storage.
I’ve come under fire in the past for stating that Glocks aren’t the best choice of firearms for most police patrol officers due to their lack of training and the kind of situations they can find themselves in, but I’ve been very clear that the gun’s design, while unforgiving of mistakes, is mechanically safe unless altered.
Chavez’s attempt to claim that the gun’s design led to him being shot is ludicrous.
You know it. I know it. Glock knows it. If he’s capable of being honest with himself, Chavez knows it, too.
Legally, ethically, and morally, this was 100% a failure of Chavez to secure his child and his weapon.
Glock would have likely crushed him in court if they’d gone to trial, but they clearly did the math and determined that the cost of defending themselves with attorneys and expert testimony was more than the settlement the Chavez family was willing to accept.
It’s a damn shame that former officer Chavez is paralyzed, but it infuriates me that he attempts to blame everyone else for his injuries.