United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge.
DuPage County SWAT team member David Hakim brings this action
against defendants Safariland, LLC and Defense Technology
Corporation (together “Safariland”) for injuries
he sustained from an allegedly defective shotgun shell made
for door breaching. Safariland moved for summary judgment on
Hakim's strict product liability and negligence claims.
For the following reasons, Safariland's motion [R. 93] is
granted in part and denied in part.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The Court
considers the entire evidentiary record and must view all of
the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences from that
evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant.
Horton v. Pobjecky, 883 F.3d 941, 948 (7th Cir.
2018). To defeat summary judgment, a nonmovant must produce
more than a “mere scintilla of evidence” and come
forward with “specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Johnson v. Advocate
Health and Hosps. Corp., 892 F.3d 887, 894, 896 (7th
Cir. 2018). Ultimately, summary judgment is warranted only if
a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the
nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986).
Def-Tech TKO Breaching Rounds are translucent shotgun shells
loaded with compressed zinc powder. 103-12 ¶
The breaching rounds are most widely used as a method to
breach door locks, hinges, dead bolts, or safety chains for
entry by law enforcement during tactical operations.
Id. Upon impact with the target, the breaching
rounds are designed to disintegrate into a fine powder.
David Hakim is a former member of the DuPage County SWAT
team. R. 93-1 ¶ 3. On December 11, 2014, Officer Patrick
O'Neil led the SWAT team in door-breaching training at an
abandoned residence in Hinsdale, Illinois. Id.
¶¶ 4-5, 7. Following O'Neil's
demonstration, SWAT team officers were divided into groups to
practice the shotgun-breaching technique in both the basement
and on the first floor of the house. Id. ¶ 6.
O'Neil did not know until after he finished his
demonstration that the officers would be performing live
breaching. Id. ¶ 19; R. 102 ¶ 19.
When O'Neil learned of this fact, he told the commanding
officer that the trainees should learn on a flat range before
breaching in the home. R. 93-1 ¶ 22. The commanding
officer still allowed the officers to proceed with the
training. R. 103-1 at 76:22-77:1.
the breaching practice, Hakim was positioned on the first
floor of the house. R. 93-1 ¶ 8. Meanwhile,
Officer Andy Alaniz was practicing shotgun-breaching in the
basement with O'Neil using the TKO breaching rounds.
Id. ¶¶ 9, 10. Alaniz had no experience
with shotgun breaching prior to the training. Id.
¶ 24. O'Neil instructed Alaniz to keep the shotgun
reasonably parallel to the floor and shoot straight between
the hinge pin and the door. Id. ¶ 25. Alaniz
then fired multiple shots directed at the hinge. Id.
¶ 10. One of the fired rounds traveled through the
basement ceiling and first-floor floorboard, struck the
back-bottom edge of Hakim's body armor, dented the armor,
deflected at a downward angle and lodged into Hakim's
spine. Id. ¶ 11.
least one SWAT team member said that there were rounds
“all over the place” that did not disintegrate on
the day in question. R. 103 ¶ 21. Hakim and Safariland
dispute whether the surface must be metal for disintegration
to occur, and if it does, whether this fact was communicated
to law enforcement officials and Hakim. See Id.
¶ 34; R. 93-1 ¶ 38. They also dispute whether
the round fired by Alaniz that hit Hakim ever hit the metal
hinge of the door before traveling through the floorboard. R.
102 ¶ 10.
moved for summary judgment on Hakim's strict liability
and negligence claims for manufacturing defect, design
defect, and failure to warn.
Strict Liability (Counts I-III)
strict liability claim may proceed under three theories:
manufacturing defect, design defect, and failure to warn.
Mikolajczyk v. Ford Motor Co., 901 N.E.2d 329, 348
(Ill. 2008), opinion modified on denial of reh'g