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Shooting Case Sheds Light on the Importance of Home Gun Safety

September 12, 2019 Blog

As our nation continually faces gun violence, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the responsibility to reduce these devastating events lies with each of us as homeowners, consumers, politicians, and business owners. The U.S. has already seen a variety of efforts this year to increase gun safety. More than 100 bills have been introduced to Congress since January. Several big-box stores have recently taken action following the string of mass shootings in recent weeks. However, these efforts can only go so far if individuals do not also take appropriate measures to protect one another against gun violence.

This importance is underscored by a tragic story that led our client, Brandon Dufault, to lose most of his eyesight. Brandon lived in Aliso Viejo, CA, where he rented a room in Lisa Cosenza’s house. In addition to Brandon and Lisa, two other people lived in the house, Todd Kuchar and Doug Ferguson.

In this case, CaseyGerry alleged that Lisa allowed Doug to keep loaded firearms in the house without using appropriate safeguards. They were both also aware that Doug’s son, Luke was afflicted by mental illness and had a lengthy criminal record that included violence and felony stalking, additionally, he was subject to a 2014 court-approved restraining order prohibiting use or possession of guns for ten years. Knowing of his erratic and dangerous behavior, CaseyGerry argued, they still left loaded firearms unlocked within Luke’s reach. In 2017, following an argument, Luke took one of his father’s unsecured guns and went on a shooting rampage inside the house, killing Doug and Lisa and seriously wounding Todd before shooting Brandon in the face through a shower door.

While CaseyGerry was able to represent Brandon and resolve the civil case against the homeowner’s insurance of Lisa’s estate for her negligence, nothing will take back the preventable act that left several dead and injured and Brandon partially blind and emotionally scarred.

Locking Up Legal Firearms in California

Among many other measures, the safe storage of firearms can help prevent gun violence in the home. With this point in mind, California requires that all firearms sold in the state be accompanied by a safety device approved by the State of California Department of Justice (DOJ). Alternatively, purchasers can provide proof that they own a gun safe that meets the DOJ’s regulatory standards.

Civil v. Criminal Shooting Cases

Luke faces a criminal prosecution after being charged with two murders and two attempted murders. Separately, CaseyGerry represented Brandon in a civil suit against the homeowner who failed to follow firearm safety. While the criminal case will determine Luke’s sentencing for his crimes, CaseyGerry’s legal action secured compensation for Brandon’s medical bills and other expenses related to his injuries. Attorney Jason C. Evans, who worked on the civil case for Brandon, noted that while a lot of focus is placed on gun users, gun owners have a critical duty to protect their firearms safely and securely. A safe, gun lockbox, or even private hiding place could have prevented this tragedy. Click here for more information about injury litigation.