Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Winburn to sue city over suit


Appeal of gun case a waste, he says

BY ROBERT ANGLEN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After losing a vote to stop Cincinnati City Council from appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit against gun makers, Councilman Charlie Winburn today will sue the city.

        Calling the appeal a “wasteful and illegal expenditure of municipal funds in pursuit of frivolous litigation against the firearms industry,” Mr. Winburn is asking for a restraining order to prevent the city from spending any more money on the suit.

        He also wants the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to prohibit further litigation against gun manufacturers.

        “We are wasting city tax dollars. I want the mayor and City Council to join me in stopping this,” Mr. Winburn said Monday.

        “This is like taking $100,000 in $1 bills and dropping it out of an airplane.”

        The city — one of nearly 30 across the nation suing gun manufacturers to recover the costs of gun-related violence — lost its lawsuit Oct. 7 when Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman threw it out. The city has appealed.

        The judge said the misuse of firearms is beyond gun makers' control, and rejected the city's claim that manufacturers were negligent in their design of handguns because they failed to include adequate safe ty devices.

        City Manager John Shirey said he was unaware of Mr. Winburn's lawsuit.

        He said the City Council made the decision to appeal the case.

        The city's attorney, Stanley Chesley, has said the judge was premature to dismiss the case so early in the judicial process.

        Mr. Winburn's lawsuit alleges that the “net effect” of suits against the gun manufacturers is to drive up the costs of firearms which are passed on to the consumer.

        Mr. Winburn said he is filing the suit with another citi zen who is not identified in the lawsuit.

        Their lawyers, David Buda in Columbus and Stephen Halbrook in Fairfax, Va., are both gun advocates, Mr. Winburn said.

        While he is willing to put up his own money to fight the city, Mr. Winburn said he doesn't think it it will cost much.

        “I will use my own money if I have to,” he said. “My wife and I will sell some of our small investments.”

       



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