Archive for Friday, September 14, 2001

Utah family wins damages in gun lawsuit against Kmart

September 14, 2001


— Jurors began deliberating Thursday whether Kmart must pay punitive damages in the death of a 19-year-old paranoid schizophrenic who bought a shotgun from the retailer.

The federal jury ruled Wednesday that the retailer was negligent in selling the weapon to Ryan Tait Eslinger five years ago. Eslinger killed himself a day later.

The jury deliberated more than six hours Wednesday and determined actual and compensatory damages of $1.5 million.

Eslinger's parents, Sandra and Phil Eslinger claimed the May 1996 gun sale violated federal law, and that the corporation was negligent when it allowed a 17-year-old store employee to sell the gun.

The Eslingers say the clerk who sold the shotgun failed to seek identification and went on with the sale even though medication Eslinger was taking made him appear intoxicated.

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