Several corporate defendants that make or sell door locks, radios used by first responders and firearms were named in a federal complaint filed in Texas Wednesday stemming from the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde that left 21 dead.
Corina Camacho — whose 10-year-old son was shot in his right leg — joined with mothers Tanisha Rodriguez and Selena Sanchez to file the lawsuit that brings nine causes of action against 11 defendants. Rodriquez’s 9-year-old daughter and Sanchez’s 8-year-old son were uninjured but witnessed the attack, according to the lawsuit.
The families have hired Stephanie Sherman and Monique Alarcon of Los Angeles-based Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman and Shawn C. Brown of San Antonio. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Alia Moses.
The lawsuit names gun manufacturer and marketer Daniel Defense, the Uvalde-based firearms dealer for Daniel Defense, Oasis Outback, the manufacturer and seller of an accessory that converts semiautomatic rifles into machine guns, Firequest International, the manufacturer of the radio systems used by first responders, Motorola Solutions, and Schneider Electric, which manufactured and installed the door locks at the school.
Another defendant is identified in the suit only as John Doe Company I, which the plaintiffs allege had a contract with the school district “to assure security measures were functioning, including but not limited to exterior and interior doors, security and surveillance systems, and radio communications and this third party did not do so and was negligent.”
In addition to the corporate defendants, the city of Uvalde, former Uvalde Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the city of Uvalde, Uvalde Police Lt. Mariano Pargas and Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez are also named as defendants.
All of the corporate defendants are facing claims of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The gun company defendants are additionally facing claims for negligent entrustment and marketing defect for “intentional marketing to untrained civilians and young adults without adequate warnings.”
“Although 90 percent of its sales are to civilians, Daniel Defense aggressively markets itself as a military weapons dealer misleading consumers into believing they are buying military sponsored weapons,” the suit alleges. “Daniel Defense intentionally misleads consumers in a fantasy scheme engineered for maximum profit at the expense of American lives.”
Motorola and Schneider have been sued for failure to warn and manufacturing defect. The lawsuit alleges that the portable radios used by school police didn’t work inside the building and officers had to step 10 feet outside to receive signals. The suit similarly targets radios used by Border Patrol, alleging those radios did work “but poorly.”
“Defendants could have provided warnings or instructions regarding the full and complete risks of their products because they knew or should have known of the unreasonable risks of harm associated with the use of products and/or failure during use,” the families allege. “Defendants failed to properly investigate, study, research, test, manufacture, and label their products and failed to minimize the dangers to others due to product failures.”
The families also are seeking punitive damages but no figure was specified in the lawsuit that points out Daniel Defense made $528 million from AR-15-style rifle sales from 2012 to 2021.
Sherman, the families’ lawyer, told The Texas Lawbook in an email she didn’t have a firm damages number in mind yet, “but the damages model will include life care planning and needs for children (and later adults) living with [post-traumatic stress disorder].”
Sherman also said the lawsuit is “not an attack on the gun industry in general,” and instead is targeting “a bad actor in the gun industry.”
“I am a civil rights lawyer and respect our Second Amendment rights and want that to be clear,” she said.
As of Thursday afternoon, counsel hadn’t appeared for any of the defendants.
The case is Corina Camacho et al., v. The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, case number 2:22-cv-00048.