VERO BEACH, Fla., Sept. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A veteran Indian River County Sheriff's deputy, shot by his holstered Sig Sauer P320 semi-automatic service 9mm handgun, has filed a lawsuit in Indian River County against Sig Sauer, alleging his injuries were a result of the gun's potentially deadly design defect that has been known to suddenly fire, without the trigger being pulled. The Plaintiff, Zachary Seldes, of Vero Beach, isn't the first law enforcement officer in the country to suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of the P320's defects. There have been hundreds of reported cases of un-commanded discharges involving the P320, including dozens of trained law enforcement officers. Seldes is represented by Tony Sos and Kyle Morat of Dellecker, Wilson, King, McKenna, Ruffier, & Sos, LLP of Orlando, FL along with associating counsel Jeff Bagnell of Bagnell Law, LLC of Westport, CT. Mr. Bagnell was the first attorney to bring Sig to trial regarding defects in the P320 in Virginia in 2019 and has represented and advised scores of P320 victims over the last seven years.
The Complaint, which includes claims of defective design, deceptive marketing practices, and negligence, details how 29-year-old Indian River County Sheriff's Office Corporal Seldes, while taking off his body armor vest, was suddenly shot with a 9mm round without touching the trigger. In fact, Seldes was not even grabbing or touching the holstered firearm when it discharged. Seldes, a highly trained and decorated Corporal, was shot in his calf, damaging his peroneal nerve, leaving him with foot drop and preventing him from being able to walk normally. The bullet was lodged in his leg for seven weeks and eventually removed by a specialized neurosurgeon who also conducted nerve repair in an attempt to allow Seldes to walk normally again. He will forever carry a fragment of the bullet in his right leg.
Introduced in 2014 by the New Hampshire-based manufacturer, the modular Sig Sauer P320 features a striker-fired mechanism that replaces the traditional double-action hammer. It is that design, which incorporates no external safety, and the build quality of the gun, that has led to so many sudden discharges across the country.
The Complaint, filed by Seldes' attorneys, highlights Sig Sauer's representation that the P320 is a safe firearm. The Complaint also highlights the fact that Sig Sauer, according to their website, instituted a "Voluntary Upgrade Program" under which owners could send in their P320 for the manufacturer to replace parts with "an alternate design that reduces the physical weight of the trigger, sear, and striker while additionally adding a mechanical disconnector." Sig Sauer claims the upgrade was done after "confirming after multiple drops, at certain angles and conditions, a potential discharge of the firearm may result when dropped." The Complaint also alleges this was simply an attempt by Sig Sauer to couch the defective design and manufacture as a "drop" issue rather than a serious overall safety problem and avoid a mandatory recall of the gun. The Complaint also highlights the timing of this voluntary upgrade program being instituted after dozens of reports of discharges were made which clearly indicates Sig Sauer is aware of the design defect.
There have been prior lawsuits involving the P320 where law enforcement officers and citizens alike have been shot by their holstered P320.
In one of those prior lawsuits, in a New Hampshire federal court, Guay v. Sig Sauer, Inc., the Court found that the evidence showed the involved P320 fired while fully holstered and untouched by Guay. Further, the Court found that Sig Sauer's experts were unpersuasive when they opined that it was impossible for a P320 to have fired without a trigger pull. The Court in Guay cited a prior incident, the Roscommon Michigan incident, where a video showed a P320 firing without the trigger being pulled, as persuasive evidence that the P320 can fire without a trigger pull. Sig Sauer's experts have also been found by a federal judge to have simply ignored prior incidents in coming to their expert opinions citing to the Roscommon incident. Seldes alleges that Sig Sauer, and its experts, have been attempting to manipulate each incident by ignoring all those prior.
Despite so many reported incidents, Sig Sauer has not even issued a mandatory full recall or upgrade program on the P320s which are in the hands of millions of citizens and law enforcement officers. The inaction by Sig Sauer, as history tells us, will inevitably lead to a preventable death of a law enforcement officer or a civilian. That is why Seldes has been forced to take action by filing the Complaint.
The goal of Seldes' lawsuit is not only to recover for his catastrophic injuries but is an effort to protect other law enforcement officers and citizens who carry the P320 from a preventable incident. Seldes' goal is to bring to light the inaction of Sig Sauer and prevent more incidents of holstered misfires by encouraging Sig Sauer to finally do the right thing.
SOURCE Dellecker Wilson King McKenna Ruffier & Sos