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Corwin v. Connecticut Valley Arms, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 17, 2014

KEITH CORWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNECTICUT VALLEY ARMS, INC., BLACKPOWDER PRODUCTS, INC., HODGON POWER COMPANY, INC., ACCURA BULLETS, LLC d/b/a POWERBELT BULLETS, DIKAR, S. COOP. LTDA., REMINGTON ARMS COMPANY, LLC, and JOHN DOE DEFENDANTS #1-5, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Keith M Corwin, Plaintiff: Daniel Nolan Abraham, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Colley Shroyer & Abraham, Co., Lpa, Columbus, OH; Patricia L.M. Gifford, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jordan Scott Powell, Levin & Perconti, Chicago, IL.

For Blackpowder Products, Inc., Defendant: Bradford A. Burton, James A. Foster, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Cassiday Schade LLP, Chicago, IL; James Errol Singer, PRO HAC VICE, Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin, LLC, Atlanta, GA.

For Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc., Defendant: Anthony Pisciotti, Jeffrey M Malsch, PRO HAC VICE, Pisciotti, Malsch & Buckley, P.c., Florham Park, NJ; Danny Lane Worker, Rebecca Marie Lindstrom, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, Llp, Chicago, IL.

For Accura Bullets, LLC, Defendant: Michael R. Grimm, LEAD ATTORNEY, Scott Robert Shinkan, Clausen Miller P.C., Chicago, IL.

For Dikar S Coop, LTDA., Defendant: James A. Foster, LEAD ATTORNEY, Cassiday Schade LLP, Chicago, IL; James Errol Singer, PRO HAC VICE, Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin, LLC, Atlanta, GA.

For Remington Arms Company, LLC, Defendant: Steven E. Danekas, LEAD ATTORNEY, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Chicago, IL; Joshua Erik Bidzinski, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Llp, Chicago, IL.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

REBECCA R. PALLMEYER, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Keith Corwin suffered permanent injuries after a rifle he attempted to fire exploded in his left hand. In this lawsuit brought under the court's diversity jurisdiction, Corwin asserts claims of negligence, strict liability, breaches of express and implied warranties, as well as a claim for punitive damages, against several parties that he alleges manufactured different parts of the rifle and bullet or otherwise caused his injuries.[1] The bullet manufacturer, Accura, moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Plaintiff has failed to allege particularized facts in his complaint sufficient to satisfy federal pleading requirements as set forth in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

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The court agrees and dismisses Plaintiff's claims against Accura without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On June 24, 2011, Plaintiff Keith Corwin prepared to shoot a muzzleloader gun on his property in Morris, Illinois.[2] (Third Am. Compl. ¶ 26.) Plaintiff does not say whether he was hunting game, engaged in target practice, or simply preparing to fire the weapon into the air.[3] Plaintiff alleges that he loaded the muzzleloader properly using Accura-manufactured 0.50 caliber bullets, gunpowder, and a primer. ( Id. ¶ 27.) When Plaintiff pulled the trigger to fire a shot, the gun's barrel exploded, causing severe damage to his left hand, including the loss of his thumb. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 28, 30-31.) Pieces of the exploded muzzleloader's stock and barrel were found in Plaintiff's yard. ( Id. ¶ 29.)

Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that the muzzleloader and bullet were defective and that such defects caused the explosion. ( See Third Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 43, 45). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the muzzleloader's barrel was " inadequate to withstand the normal service load" because it was " constructed of weak steel." ( Id. ¶ 43-44.) Plaintiff further asserts that Accura's bullets were " defective, causing increased barrel pressures leading to the barrel explosion." ( Id. ¶ 45.)

Plaintiff sued several Defendants allegedly responsible for manufacturing the bullet and rifle. Following investigation, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his claims against many of the original named parties. Accura, Accura's parent company BPI, and Dikar--the alleged manufacturer of the subject rifle--are the only remaining non-nominal parties to the case. See supra, at 1 n.1. He asserts five causes of action against each party: negligence, strict product liability, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and punitive damages (which as discussed below, is a request for a certain form of relief rather than an independent claim). Plaintiff asserts that he has suffered lost wages, pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and medical ...


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